Vietnam anti-China activists mark island battle

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HANOI (AFP) - Activists in Hanoi chanted anti-China slogans and laid flowers Thursday at a protest marking the anniversary of a battle over the contested Spratly Islands in which 64 Vietnamese soldiers died.

Vietnam and China have been locked in long-standing territorial disputes over the Spratly and Paracel Islands, which both countries claim, and often trade diplomatic barbs over oil exploration and fishing rights in the contested waters.

In 1988 China launched an attack on Gac Ma Island -- one of the larger Spratly Islands which was formerly under Vietnamese military control -- killing dozens of Vietnamese soldiers in the last violent conflict between the two nations.

On Thursday some 20 activists laid floral wreaths covered with black ribbons which read "the people will never forget" at a statue of Ly Thai To -- the founder of Hanoi and a nationalist figurehead -- in the centre of the capital.

The protest was the first display of public discontent in Hanoi this year against Beijing's perceived aggression over territory, following half a dozen anti-China demonstrations last year which were broken up by authorities.

Watched by dozens of plain-clothed security officers, the activists played patriotic music and chanted "Hoang Sa (Paracels), Truong Sa (Spratlys), Vietnam! Down with Chinese invasion! Down with Beijing's expansion schemes!"

"I am very happy today, we came here and laid flowers to remember everybody who died for their country," well-known activist Bui Thi Minh Hang, who has previously been detained for her anti-China protests, told AFP at the event.

Playing a violin, another activist Ta Tri Hai expressed his hope that the ceremony would "help recall our nation's tradition of patriotism -- 1,000 years of history of fighting against foreign invasion, against China".

Vietnam's tightly-controlled state media covered the anniversary but not Thursday's protest. There was no official comment from the government.

Beijing's increasingly assertive stance in the South China Sea has stoked public anger in Vietnam and given way to rare protest in the authoritarian country.

Apart from China and Vietnam the Spratly Islands are claimed in whole or in part by the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.


  1. Have you ever wondered why there were no government or army representatives attending this event? This is because the Vietnamese leaders are weak and acting puppets of the Chinese. Instead they sent undercover secret police to isolate this from the public.

    Those who died to fend off the Chinese invasion are forgotten by the regime which they were told to protect & serve not the country as they are supposed to.

    Freedom & democracy for Vietnam! Down down the Communist wankers in Hanoi!

    1. I know and support your idea but now I can not find any Vietnamese political party to submit my faith in.

    2. The song in the link below was written by Viet Khang. It is one of my favorites. I'd like to share it with you. Hope you like it.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Stand up for Freedom and democracy or Vietnam will be another Tibet.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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