10 Updates

Vietnam's Anti-China Protests Reflect Grievances Far Beyond China's Rig in South China Sea

May 18 2014, 12:51am CDT | by

Violence against Chinese-owned factories in Vietnam has spread to mayhem at factories run by South Korean, Taiwan and Singapore companies as well. It’s as though Vietnamese were protesting not only...

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10 weeks ago

Vietnam's Anti-China Protests Reflect Grievances Far Beyond China's Rig in South China Sea

May 18 2014, 12:51am CDT | by

Violence against Chinese-owned factories in Vietnam has spread to mayhem at factories run by South Korean, Taiwan and Singapore companies as well. It’s as though Vietnamese were protesting not only the heavy-handed construction by China of an oil rig within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea but also giving voice to a long litany of complaints against all those whom the Vietnamese see as exploiting them.

Vietnamese nationalism is a dominant factor. The Vietnamese people patriotically resent China’s claims to the entire South China Sea. They see China’s policy as a continuation of Chinese domination going back many centuries, almost into pre-history, when Chinese warlords controlled much of what is now northern Vietnam. The historic influence of China is evident in appearance, linguistic characteristics, religion and culture. Yet the Vietnamese have remained fiercely independent, and Vietnamese forces repelled the Chinese in vicious fighting in 1979.

The great paradox of the fighting between Vietnam and China was that China had been the major ally of the communist regime in Hanoi throughout the war against the United States and the U.S.-backed Saigon regime. Communist guerrillas in the south, i.e. the Viet Cong, fought under the banner of a National Liberation Front while Vietnamese soldiers from the north unified the country in the Spring of 1975, two years after the Americans had withdrawn their last remaining troops. The government in Hanoi came to exercise complete control over all Vietnam, easily defeating U.S.-backed forces in the south and then snuffing out the National Liberation Front when they saw it as it no longer needed — and competing with Hanoi for power in Saigon.

Although the forces in the north could not have won without Chinese arms, advice and economic aid, the victorious Vietnamese in Hanoi did not want their newly reunified country to remain a satellite of China. Relations between Vietnam and China have long been tense, never more so than when the two were fighting each other in 1979.

Another great paradox is that Hanoi has been improving ties with its old American enemy, accepting U.S. investment and occasionally hosting American warships on port visits. Having spent much time based in Saigon during the war as a correspondent, I wondered what kind of welcome I would receive on return visits. Vietnamese seem happy to meet Americans and other foreigners, whether for brief stays or longer postings.

The Chinese nowadays pose a much more immediate threat. They have refused to turn over the Paracel islands, which they had seized in 1974 from the old Saigon army, to Hanoi. The Paracels are uninhabited, except for soldiers and fishermen who come and go, but they are in the midst of a region that may be rich in deposits of oil and natural gas.

China’s grip on the Paracels, along with that oil rig in the same waters, dramatizes China’s rising power. South of the Paracels, the Chinese also claim another island cluster, the Spratlys. China is strengthening facilities on two or three of the Spratlys. Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines control a number of the islands, but the fear is the Chinese sooner or later will drive them away.

The reaction among Vietnamese against China goes far beyond resentment of China’s aggression in the South China Sea. Vietnamese workers believe Chinese factory owners have been exploiting them, and their anger extends to projects owned by Chinese from non-communist enclaves. Vietnamese have also long resented what they see as harsh working conditions imposed by Korean factory owners and their managers.

On a popular level, people do not distinguish much between Chinese from China and those from elsewhere. They may know the difference between Chinese and Koreans but include South Korean bosses among their oppressors. Vietnamese leaders, having permitted the riots to flicker and flare, are suppressing them. They want the rioters to make their point, but they don’t want the mayhem to get out of control.

U.S. policy on Vietnam contrasts with the U.S. position on the Philippines. The U.S., the old enemy from Vietnam War days, is not going to aid Vietnam militarily while increasing assistance and rotating troops in and out of the one-time major U.S. bases in the Philippines under an enhanced defense agreement reached as President Obama was visiting this month.

Does that agreement, on top of the U.S.-Philippine mutual security treaty, dating from 1950, mean the U.S. would go to war if the Chinese take over Philippine-held islands or remain on the Scarborough shoal, in Philippine waters west of the port of Olongapo? That’s not clear, but the Philippines can be far more certain of U.S. military aid than the Vietnamese.

Given that reality, Vietnamese see anti-Chinese violence as maybe the best way to make their point about the oil rig and much else. The Vietnamese may be no match for the Chinese, but their outrage shows their fierce determination against any oppression,  military or commercial, western or Asian.

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Ra ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken i ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

7 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the Dew ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minis ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million in comp ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation of RM20 ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar Sc ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansa ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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