Hundreds of demonstrators in Hanoi, Vietnam protested China’s claim to offshore oil blocks in the South China Sea. Vietnam is also protesting China’s invitation to oil firms to bid on blocks in areas that Vietnam also claims as their territory.
The Vietnamese government rarely allows demonstrations and police have also released a warning prior to the protest. This time, the Vietnamese police did not make an attempt to arrest anybody in the rally, nor did they try to disperse the crowd of demonstrators.
The demonstrators were holding up banners and anti-China posters along Hanoi’s streets. They were chanting anti-Chinese slogans while standing at a war martyr’s monument in Hanoi. A protester said “We want to raise people’s awareness of China’s wrongful moves recently, and we have received applause from people in the streets.”
Vietnamese officials have tolerated a series of demonstrations against China’s claim in a number of islands in the South China Sea that are known to hold large oil and gas reserves. Vietnam claims part of this group of islands that include the Spratley Islands and the Paracels Islands which are mostly uninhabited.
CNOOC, a subsidiary of New York and Hong Kong listed CNOOC Ltd, issued a tender last Saturday that invites foreign corporations to develop 9 blocks in the western part of the South China Sea. Vietnam calls the move illegal since they and other neighboring countries also lay claim to these territories.