Deputy envoy asks US to protect Vietnamese students

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Vietnam’s Deputy Ambassador on Tuesday asked the US government to take proper steps to ensure the security of students of Vietnamese origin.

The request was made following attacks on Vietnamese students early December wherein there was no timely intervention, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

Deputy envoy Nguyen Tien Minh met officials from the Bureau of Consular Affairs under the US State Department to discuss the issue after seven students were attacked in Philadelphia on December 3 but local authorities failed to interfere in time.

The violence reportedly targeted around 30 Asian students at the South Philadelphia High School.

Helen Gym, a board member of Asian Americans United, was cited by the Philadelphia Inquirer as saying after the attack: “There’s a corrosive culture that’s hurting all the kids at the school.”

Gym said the district must apologize and “admit that there’s a serious problem at South Philly High School.”

Few of the students, who were punched repeatedly in their faces, know who or how many attacked them.

Minh asked the US authorities to quickly launch an investigation into the case and punish the people involved.

He also asked the school to take immediate measures to protect other Vietnamese students.

Duy Ngoc Truong, a victim, said he was hurt that school didn’t care about them, local newswire Vnexpress reported.

Some security guards had later lent a hand to the attackers by taking the Asian students to the lunchroom and chasing them away after they were punched, Truong told school authorities at a meeting on December 7.

Racial violence at South Philadelphia High is not new, according to local residents. Seventy percent of the students there are African American, 18 percent are Asian, about 6 percent are white and 5 percent are Latino.

“They don’t know each other. They just see an Asian face, and they punch it,” said Wei Chen, who formed the South Philadelphia Chinese-American Student Association in 2008 after a series of attacks.

Chen said many students, especially freshmen, were too scared to go to school for a couple of days after the incident.

US officials at the Tuesday meeting have promised to forward Minh’s requests to concerned agencies.

Minh told Vietnam News Agency that the Vietnamese embassy in the US will closely follow developments in the case and will take any steps needed to protect Vietnamese citizens living and studying in the US.

Source: Agencies

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