A crowd stages a peaceful demonstration in Ho Chi Minh City
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has called on officials at every level of government to prevent further riots and punish all those involved, while at the same time protecting the property and employees of foreign-invested firms.
PM Dung sent the order to ministries, provincial authorities and municipal governments on Thursday following two days of vandalism and violence in southern and central Vietnam.
He said the ministries and agencies must work to ensure public order and the safety of the people and the continued operation of businesses, especially foreign-invested ones.
The note added that people across the country have the right to hold demonstrations against China’s recent deployment of a giant drilling rig in Vietnam’s territorial waters, but in the last few days, a number of people took advantage of those protests to commit illegal acts, damage the property of foreign-invested companies and resist public officers on duty.
The note condemned the acts for disrupting the businesses and the lives of their employees as well as tarnishing the investment environment and external policies of the Party and the State.
PM Dung called the situation “serious.”
He ordered law enforcement agencies across the country to strictly punish inciters and rioters, and called on the people not to be incited to commit illegal acts.
He also asked the authorities to help the affected companies resume their normal business operations.
He further ordered local authorities to inform diplomatic agencies and foreign investors of the policies of the Party and the State, which hold that the country will make its utmost efforts to create the most favorable conditions for and ensure the absolute safety of foreigners, foreign companies and agencies in Vietnam.
He asked the ministries, agencies and localities to regularly update the government on the situation as it unfolds.
That same day, Vice Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan of the National Assembly, told lawmakers that the recent riots had tarnished the image of Vietnam in the eyes of its international partners.
“Surely there must be bad people behind these acts of vandalism, as stated by the workers,” Ngan said at the meeting of the NA's Standing Committee in Hanoi.
She also said Vietnam has the situation under control and told foreign investors as much.
There should be stronger campaigns to raise worker awareness so that they will understand that spontaneous acts of violence will just make the situation worse, she said.
Bui Quang Vinh, Minister of Planning and Investment, and other NA leaders also expressed deep concern over the riots.
Tran Van Hang, chairman of the NA’s Committee for External Affairs, said the riots will affect Vietnam-China’s economic relations as Chinese and Taiwanese investors must now grapple with burned out factories and extended work stoppages.
Minister Vinh said the image of Vietnam’s investment environment had been badly tarnished since, in addition to Chinese-invested companies, Taiwanese, South Korean and Japanese firms were also vandalized in the riots.
“We usually say that Vietnam is a safe destination, so we must take concrete action, otherwise investors will hesitate to come here,” he said.
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