Vietnamese march to protest China’s action in Vietnam’s EEZ gets out of hand and factories are burnt
20/05/2014: Update on casualties, please scroll down to read
To protest over the placement of a Chinese oil drilling rig in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Vietnam, many Vietnamese in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and in other provinces demonstrated and called for China to take their rig out of the EEZ. People tried to do many things with the hope that they could put pressure on China. Some hotels are refusing Chinese guests and trips to China are canceled to protest China’s action. (http://www.voanews.com/content/emotions-running-high-in-vietnam-over-china-dispute/1913633.html).
At the same time, some Vietnamese web hosting companies have been under attack by Chinese hackers and several websites belonging to small business or private persons have been wiped out.
Many workers in Binh Duong and Dong Nai province, Vietnam’s industrial hub that accounts for an overwhelming part of national GDP, took part in what began as a peaceful protest which focused on voicing discontent towards Chinese and Taiwanese company. However, some agitators took advantage of the protest and brought tempers to a high so that many workers ended up overrunning and burning several textile and furniture factories. Led by these agitators, workers burnt and damaged the facilities and property of some factories, in some cases indiscriminately or even targeting Singaporean factories by mistake.
It seems that no furniture factories were burnt but rather textile and other industry related factories.
Here are some pictures showing the ruins of some factories after the protest:
According to Furnituretoday (http://www.furnituretoday.com/article/488105-protests-cause-shutdowns-some-vietnamese-furniture-plants), due to the protest, some factories in Binh Duong and Dong Nai province have sent their workers home early. Also according to Furniture today, some sources in the furniture industry declined to comment on the impact of the protests to furniture shipments. However, some furniture factories have already warned that there will be potential disruptions to furniture deliveries. The main targets seem to be Chinese furniture producers but indiscriminate actions have also targeted Taiwanese furniture producers and Korean furniture factories.
People do not know how long the situation will last but they hope the government will step in. Most surely, the government will take quick action and there will not dramatic effect to the furniture industry.
After the government and local authorities of some provinces such as Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Ha Tinh or Ho Chi Minh City stepped in, the situation became better. Thousands of workers at VSIP (Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park) in Binh Duong or workers at AMATA Industrial Zone in Dong Nai province came back to work on 19/5. Workers cleaned up the factory and began doing their usual manufacturing tasks. The Ministry of Finance has committed to support factories that have been damaged in the strikes. Many Taiwanese and Singaporean owners of factories in Dong Nai and Binh Duong province said that they were very pleased with what the government and the provincial authorities had done to control the situation.
As in Binh Duong and Dong Nai province, thousands of workers and contractors at Formosa Plastic Group in Vung Ang EZ, Ha Tinh province also came back to work after the riot on May 14th.(http://www.vir.com.vn/news/en/coverage/factories-in-vung-ang-vsip-get-back-to-work.html). According to ABC news (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-15/an-chinese-worker-killed-in-anti-beijing-protest-in-vietnam/5455762), at the riot in Vung Ang EZ, one Chinese worker has been killed due to smoke inhalation in one of the factory fires and at least 90 people have been injured. Please note that depending on the source, the number of casualties can vary. However, now the situation has come back to it normalcy. The authorities of Ha Tinh committed to ensure the safety of all workers and the assets of Formosa.