Word has been spreading that the people in Vietnam are ready to stage a major demonstration this Sunday to protest China’s latest act of aggression in the Southeast Asia Sea. The People’s Republic of China has recently offered bids to foreign oil companies to start operating in areas deep within Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The Vietnamese government has declared these actions illegal, and in strict violation of Vietnam’s law and sovereignty. Beijing responded by claiming that what they are doing is “normal business activity” and warned Vietnam not to further escalate the situation.
Hanoi cites UNCLOS as evidence against China’s “indisputable” claims of control over the entire Southeast Asia Sea, which Vietnam calls the East Sea. According to Vietnam, the nine offshore oil blocks that China plans to open to foreign firms is well within Vietnam’s EEZ, violating both international law and Vietnamese law. This dispute comes as part of a long standing tension building in the Southeast Asia Sea.
After much silence and hesitation on this issue, Hanoi has finally raised its voice, prompting the country’s National Assembly to pass a law claiming official ownership of the Paracel and Spratly islands. These islands are prominently situated in the Southeast Asia Sea, and have been under Vietnam’s control since the Nguyen Dynasty in the 19th century. China disregards both Vietnam’s historical claims and its claims based on international law. The Asian giant continues to assert its claims over the sea in its entirety, putting the country into conflicts with its many neighbors.
The people of Vietnam came out to protest Red China in the summer of 2011. The weekly demonstrations were permitted by the Vietnamese government for a while, but were formally and forcefully suppressed on the 11th week.
In reaction to the assertions of Red China, the people of Vietnam have come together in preparation for the large demonstration slated for this Sunday. Protests are set to kick off in two of Vietnam’s major cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh (Saigon). This is reminiscent of protests in Vietnam last summer, which were permitted by the government for a time before being forcibly subdued by Communist police. Though it is difficult to predict what the protests will yield, it will become clear on Sunday morning.
For those of us who are outside of Vietnam, there is really not much we can physically do. However, it is important to let the Vietnamese within know that we support them, and that we are behind them in their efforts. Regardless of what country we are originally from or currently live in, Vietnamese everywhere are fighting for the same cause. To all the courageous Vietnamese coming out on Sunday, just know that we all support you. God bless.