Yellow stars have been glued over the Chinese characters on Chinese lanterns in Hai Phong in protest of China's illegal attempts to assert control over Vietnamese waters
People in northern Vietnam have pulled down Chinese lanterns after local authorities warned they had printed on them the names of administrative units that China has illegally established within Vietnamese waters.
Police in Hai Duong Province and nearby Hai Phong City said the lanterns had the word “Sansha” – the name of the administrative unit set up by China which includes Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands – printed in Chinese characters. They also contained “Nansha,” the Chinese word for Vietham’s more southernly Truong Sa Islands.
An officer from Hai Duong police said they have delivered printouts of the Chinese words so that local residents could identify them and tear down any lanterns containing them. “But many families have pulled down all [Chinese] lanterns without bothering to check the decorations.”
Authorities in Hai Phong said they have recalled all the lanterns with the Chinese words, while several families have pasted yellow stars over the Chinese words on the red New Year lanterns to replicate the imagery of the Vietnamese national flag.
The lanterns, which were hung in front of many houses as a Lunar New Year decoration, were bought from China, as were other popular holiday specialties like firecrackers, which have been banned in Vietnam for years but remain legal in some parts of China.
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