Hanoi Police Disperse PeacefulDemonstration Protesting Chinese Oil Block Survey in East Sea
Defend the Defenders, August 8, 2019
On August 7, security forces in the capital city of Hanoi cracked down a rare peaceful demonstration carried out by a group of ten activists who opposed to China’s survey of an offshore oil block located within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the EastSea (South China Sea).
The protest broke in the front of the Chinese Embassy on Tuesdayandits participants came from an unregistered group No-U (says No to China’s illegal U-shaped claim in the sea).
The protests held banners calling on China to withdraw from Vietnam’s waters and chanted Beijing to get out of VanguardBank. They also called on Vietnam’s government to take stronger actions, including taking China to the international arbitration court under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The demonstration lasted about 20 minutes before being dispersed by police and militia. Police asked them to leave the area and the protesters peacefully complied with the police order and no one was arrested.
The demonstration was in response to the Chinese survey in July of waters near VanguardBank which is located westernmost of the contested Truong Sa (Spratlys). From early July, China sent a survey ship named Haiyang Dizhi 8operated by the China Geological Survey, with Chinese Coast Guard ships and escorted by Chinese Coast Guard ships.
At one point, China’s survey intruded into Vietnam’soffshore oil block in Vanguard Bank, and vessels from the two countries have since been involved in a weeks-long standoff near the area.
Vietnam and China are disputing over the Hoang Sa (Paracels), and the two communist nations together with Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan have overlapping claims on the Truong Sa and surrounding waters in the East Sea.
Vietnam has solid evidence of possessing both the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa. The first is occupied by China and Taiwan while the second is controlled by the five nations. China illegally claims over 90% of the East Sea, including the two archipelagos.
China invaded the Hoang Sa in 1974 controlled by the Vietnam Republic. It also took over Gac Ma (Johnson South Reef) in Truong Sa in 1988 after killing 64 Vietnamese soldiers and wounding 11 others who stationed there.
In recent years, China has built numerous military facilities in the Hoang Sa and the Truong Sa, and installed military equipment, including missiles there.
The East Sea is important for international sealine and rich of oil and gas as well as fisheries.
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