Chinese travel agencies hurry to change routes as demonstrations with 'anti-China content' broke out across Vietnam

By Yin Han Source:Global Times Published: 2018/6/11 23:13:39

Embassy cautions nationals over Vietnam demonstrations

As demonstrations with "anti-China content" broke out across Vietnam, travel agencies hurried to change their routes and schedules and Chinese citizens in Vietnam were urged to stay vigilant.

Chinese Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City told the Global Times on Monday that there are no reports of injury for Chinese citizens  in or around the demonstration areas.

The demonstrations were staged in several cities, including Hanoi, Danang, Nha Trang City and Ho Chi Minh City.

The Chinese Embassy in Vietnam on Sunday reminded Chinese citizens to stay vigilant.

"Vietnamese police have been closely monitoring the situation to maintain security," according to the embassy notice.

The demonstrators were protesting a recent draft proposal for three new special economic zones in Van Don in Quang Ninh province, Bac Van Phong in Khanh Hoa province and Phu Quoc in Kien Giang province. Anti-China content is involved in the protest, the notice said.

A Chinese university student studying in Hanoi told the Global Times on Monday that he had received a safety alert on Monday from the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam. Although the situation is "not dangerous for Chinese nationals" in Hanoi, the student said he had become afraid to tell people where he came from.

Chinese travel agencies have changed their planned tourist routes to Vietnam, avoiding cities where demonstrations took place, in order to "ensure the safety of Chinese tourists," Wang Huabei, public relations manager of the online travel platform said.

The three new economic zones aim at giving greater incentives and less restriction to investors and would allow up to 99-year land leases in some cases, reported the South China Morning Post. Though not explicitly mentioning any country, protesters feared the bill would benefit Chinese investors.

The proposed zone in Quang Ninh province is of particular concern since it is "not far" from China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the report said, citing Le Dang Doanh, a retired senior economic adviser to the Vietnamese government.

"Vietnam is economically dependent on China, which has resulted in uneasiness among the Vietnamese public," Hu Zhiyong,  a research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of International Relations, told the Global Times on Monday.

China is Vietnam's biggest trade partner. Chinese investment in Vietnam reached $15 billion by the end of 2017. Bilateral trade breached the $100 billion mark for the first time in 2017, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

 "China is growing but it is not a threat to Vietnamese sovereignty. China should emphasize this point to Vietnam, which could allay the uneasiness among the Vietnamese public," Hu said.


Newspaper headline: No Chinese injured in protest


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