The Global Times a daily Chinese tabloid produced under the auspices of the official Chinese Communist Party newspaper, the People's Daily on June 11 published an editorial distorting information about the East Sea disputes and Vietnam's righteous reaction against China's aggression on the East Sea.
This year, Vietnam and China entered the 20th year since the two countries normalized diplomatic relations. One of the basic principles of the bilateral relations, agreed by the two sides, is to "forget about the past and move towards the future" and the relations are based on "16 Golden Words" motto: "Friendly neighborhood, comprehensive cooperation, long-term stability and future orientations."
Recently, the two countries also agreed to build comprehensive strategic partnership.
However, Chinese newspapers and online websites repeatedly ran stories with biased and distorting information about Vietnam and Vietnam-China relations.
They published those articles after two harassing acts of Chinese boats towards Vietnam's oil exploration vessels on June 9 and May 26.
On June 9, Chinese fishing boats damaged the cables of Viking II, leased by the PetroVietnam Technical Services Corporation (PTSC) under the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) from a foreign company, which was working at Lot. No 136.03 (6o47.5' N 109o17.5' E) in Vietnam's continental shelf.
On May 26, the Binh Minh 02, a ship of PetroVietnam, also had its cables cut by Chinese marine surveillance ships when it was conducting oil exploration work.
The incident, which happened when the ship was in Vietnam's territorial waters, some 120 nautical miles off the central coast, has outraged Vietnamese people and raised concerns about the East Sea's security among many countries.
Meanwhile, the June 11 editorial in the Global Times warned Vietnam to show restraint or come out the loser in the escalating disputes on the East Sea.
The editorial accused Hanoi of using the "lowest form of nationalism to create new enmity between the people of the two countries" and said that Vietnam tried to blackmail China.
It is obviously funny because it was Chinese boats that had attacked Vietnamese vessels, not vice versa. China's acts are not only bullying but also provocative.
To make the situation worse, a series of Chinese print and online newspapers ran stories with insulting and threatening words for Vietnam, which is not by any means appropriate behavior between two civilized countries.
The Global Times editorial said Vietnam totally ignored possible reactions from China and that Vietnam will fail if it resorts to war to settle territorial disputes.
It said Vietnam's tough stance had destroyed goodwill among the Chinese public and threatens to pressure China's leaders into responding with firmer actions.
Should Vietnam remind China that it was Chinese troops who invaded the Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago in 1974, and declared a border war in 1979. In 1988, Chinese troops also invaded several islands in the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago.
So who is having a tough stance?
Having experienced two wars, Vietnamese people are the most willing to establish peace and stability to develop the country. Vietnam does not want to provoke conflicts with any country, if its independence and sovereignty are not threatened.
China's bullying acts and such editorials have destroyed good feelings of Vietnamese people towards China.
In its editorial, the Global Times repeatedly called the relations between Vietnam and China as those of a small country and a big country.
It did not remember that all countries are equal in international relations a basic concept that China usually preaches.
China's acts obviously go counter to what it has always stated that China has "never sought to politically blackmail smaller countries," like the editorial said, despite its size and strength.
The Global Times also said: "Hanoi seems to be looking to dissipate domestic pressure and buck up morale at home, while at the same time further drawing in the concern of international society over the South China Sea dispute."
In fact, however, China's harassment towards Vietnam and its violations of international regulations and normal practices can cause discontent to any people of any country. China is acting aggressively but at the same time accusing another country of being tough.
What would China do if foreign boats damaged its seismic survey vessels in China's legal exclusive economic zones (not its illegally-claimed vast U-shape over most of the East Sea)? China were once invaded by foreign forces; Chinese people were once humiliated. They should understand the feelings of Vietnamese people.
The editorial said Hanoi is taking backward steps from successful experiences in dealing with terrestrial disputes and delimiting the Tonkin Gulf in the past, and that it is bringing the two countries back to fighting track.
It is a strange and funny argument. It is not Hanoi, it should be "Beijing" instead. It is such a pity that the two countries have made too much effort to leave the past behind and create cooperative relations over the last 20 years, and then harassing acts by Chinese boats push the bilateral relationship backward.
"If Vietnam insists on making trouble, thinking that the more trouble it makes, the more benefits it gains, then we truly wish to remind those in Vietnam who determine policy to please read your history," the editorial concluded.
That's right, let's take a look at history. Vietnam has been living next to a China for thousands of years and Vietnam is still standing strong.
Let's behave like two friendly neighbors, that's what Vietnamese people truly wish.
Vietnamese people hope that the wish is shared by Chinese people as well as regional and international communities.