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Foreign Factories set Ablaze Amid Anti-China Sentiments

The row between the Communist neighbors over the South China Sea has raised tension on several parts of Vietnam. Vietnamese mobs set ablaze a number of foreign factories and vandalized industrial zones in the south of the country in an overwhelming protest towards the Chinese oil drilling in a part of the South China Sea. The area is claimed both by Vietnam and China.

Such claims over the disputed area have been the cause of the worst breakdowns in Sino-Vietnamese relations after the neighbors both got into a conflict briefly during 1979. One of the worst demonstrations appears have been borne by Taiwanese firms in the zones in Binh Duong and Dong Nai provinces that were mistaken for Chinese-owned companies. Some 200 people had been arrested for the incident.

Taiwan’s Formosa Industries Corp. was one of the firms attacked by around 300 rioters who looted televisions and computers. The employees’ personal belongings were also reported stolen by the looters. The limited number of police officers were not enough to control the overwhelming number of people who joined the violence. Malaysian-owned furniture manufacturer Latitude Tree Holdings Bhd reported their property as among those ransacked. Up to date, they are not certain when they could resume operations due to the amount of damage to their facilities.

Photographs of the aftermath of the violence were circulated on social media sites and all over the internet showing charred shipping containers, broken windows and a couple of vehicles that has been overturned and burned down.

To set them apart from Chinese firms and to prevent taking the beating from the growing protest across the country, a number of Taiwanese firms spray-painted messages on the road and across their gates saying “We Support Vietnam”.

Domino Effect

Yue Yuen, a Hong Kong-owned sports shoe maker company supplying footwear to Adidas, Nike and other big brands had suspended their production in Vietnam as precautionaryry measures. Til date there were no reported damages to its facilities. On a similar move, Li & Fung, an exporter for Kohl’s and Wal-Mart had also temporarily halted production when the protests broke out.

The spreading violence have caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages while thousands of workers will be displaced from their jobs. China, on the other hand, intends to put the oil rig in place by August. Thus, these protests is expected to move at an unfortunate direction. Everyone, however, is urged to stay calm and continue to have faith in the leadership of the Party and State.

Ongoing clash at the sea

Dozens of ships from both countries are currently around the oil rig with both sides accusing each other of intentional collisions. Both sides have been urged to demonstrate “utmost restraint” to defuse territorial tensions.

Anti-China sentiment are also growing in Manila, as the Philippine government is accusing China building an airstrip in the disputed islands. Just a couple of weeks ago, U.S. President Barack Obama visited the region and expressed support for long-time allies Japan and the Philippines, both of which are locked in territorial disputes with China. Currently, Vietnam is also stepping up ties with the United States. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims on the area.


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