Protesters confront a policeman as they march during an
anti-China protest in Vietnam's southern Ho Chi Minh city.
Vietnam has flooded major cities with police to avert
anti-China protests, while Beijing has evacuated thousands of
citizens after a flare-up over disputed sovereignty in the
South China Sea sparked rare and deadly rioting in Vietnam last
China has evacuated more than 3,000 nationals following the
attacks on Chinese workers and Chinese-owned businesses at
industrial parks in its southern neighbour.
On Sunday, China arranged two chartered flights to bring
nearly 300 people, many of them injured, home to its
southwestern city of Chengdu, while five ships were on their
way to Vietnam to bring out more people, state-run Xinhua
news agency reported.
Sixteen critically injured were evacuated separately, aboard
a chartered medical flight in the morning, China's foreign
Several arrests were made in the capital Hanoi and commercial
hub Ho Chi Minh City within minutes of groups trying to start
protests, according to witnesses, as Vietnam's communist
rulers stuck to their vow to thwart any repeat of last week's
violence in three provinces in the south and centre.
Fury has gripped Vietnam after Chinese state energy firm
CNOOC deployed dozens of ships two weeks ago and towed a $1
billion oil rig to a location 240 kilometres (150 miles) off
Vietnam's coast in an area both counties claim.
It was one of the most assertive moves China has made in seas
believed to be endowed with billions of barrels worth of oil.
Coming just days after U.S. President Barack Obama visited
several Asian allies engaged in territorial disputes with
China, and U.S. official in Washington described China's
action as provocative, and said Beijing's fraught relations
with neighbours could potentially strain ties with the United
"Our intention was to protest in support of the government to
chase the oil rig away from Vietnam's territorial waters,"
said Van Cung, 74, a retired army colonel who was attempting
to protest outside the Chinese embassy in Hanoi.
Protests of hundreds in Vietnam's cities were allowed to a
week ago, a rare move in a state that usually suppresses
them. However, what started as a peaceful march in two
southern industrialised provinces on Monday spiralled a day
later into a rampage of arson, destruction and looting of
Chinese-owned factories, and Taiwanese businesses mistaken
for being Chinese.
Fighting between Vietnamese and Chinese workers broke out in
central Ha Tinh province on Wednesday killing two people and
wounding 140, the government said. China's foreign ministry
also put the casualties at two dead and 100 injured, Xinhua
A doctor and an eyewitness, however, said they saw between 13
and 21 dead bodies, mostly Chinese, on the night of the
"The severe violence targeting foreign companies in Vietnam
since May 13 has caused casualties and property losses for
Chinese nationals. This has destroyed the atmosphere and
conditions for bilateral communication and cooperation,"
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Sunday.
The ministry also upgraded its travel advice for Vietnam on
Sunday, telling Chinese citizens "not to go for the time
China has demanded swift action against the perpetrators and
for Vietnam to do more to protect Chinese nationals and
A text message was sent to Vietnamese cellphone users on
Saturday saying Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung had
ordered the security forces to prevent illegal acts. A top
police investigator rejected assertions that the authorities
remained aloof when the rioting erupted.
Police and traffic police gathered in small clusters on
street corners in the centres of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City
on Sunday, where large numbers of people were milling around
in hot and humid conditions in anticipation of rallies.
Trucks with loudspeakers circled parks and stopped at
intersections telling onlookers to disperse. A handful of
people who tried to start a protest in Ho Chi Minh City were
rounded up and taken away in a van as sirens blared.
"Vietnam may be small, but we are not weak", said a small
sign held up by a man who was ordered by police to disperse.
The spat has been the worst breakdown in shaky but important
ties between the two Communist states since a brief but
bloody border war in 1979.
Trade between the two neighbours was worth $50 billion last
year, with China a crucial source of imports for Vietnam.
Diplomatic ties have long been strained and many Vietnamese
are embittered by what they see as a history of Chinese
The rioters had also targeted Taiwan and Hong Kong
businesses, presumably mistaking them for mainland Chinese.
On Sunday, Singapore issued a statement saying Vietnam's
Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh had called his Singaporean
counterpart to give assurance that industrial parks for joint
ventures between the two countries would be protected.
Vietnam's authorities have long been uncomfortable with
public protests, even if they are about China, in what is
often seen as fear that demonstrations could harness wider
discontent over land grabs, corruption, an underperforming
economy and one-party rule.
Dao Minh Chau, 44, who described himself as "a Vietnamese who
loves his motherland", said he was fully behind the
"We already signed a letter to request the government to
bring China to the international courts," he said.
"We will tell clearly to our government that we behind the
government to protest China's aggressive policy and the
government can rely on us."