News Watch about Vietnam and pro-democracy movements
HA TINH PROVINCE, Vietnam — The hundreds of men on motorbikes who roared into Lee Hsueh Ying’s factory compound north of Ho Chi Minh City were bent on revenge against China. Some clung to red-and-gold Vietnamese flags while they careened around overwhelmed security guards. And in a scene repeated elsewhere in the country’s industrial heartland, they destroyed the building, smashing furniture, snatching computers and shouting “Long Live Vietnam.”
Vietnam has a history of resisting the world’s great powers. It threw out the French after almost a century of colonization and then handed the United States a humiliating defeat. That same spirit has emerged in its latest war of wills, this time over China’s attempts to project its growing power closer to Vietnam’s shores.
Protesters with Vietnamese flags tried to break down a factory gate in Dong Nai Province.Anti-Chinese Violence Convulses Vietnam, Pitting Laborers Against LaborersMAY 15, 2014
But the target of this week’s violence — foreign businesses that have become a lifeline of Vietnam’s economy — has left Vietnam’s government with a hard choice. Ignoring the popular anger it has helped stoke could leave it open to critics at home. But taking on its longtime rival, China, in a battle it cannot win could jeopardize its standing with investors that have lifted the economy after decades of war and occupation.