World View: China Evacuates 3,000 Citizens from Vietnam, Fearing More Violence

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • China evacuates 3,000 citizens from Vietnam, fearing more violence
  • Taiwanese businesses bear the brunt of Vietnam's riots
  • Generational History of Vietnam

China evacuates 3,000 citizens from Vietnam, fearing more violence

Taiwan-owned furniture factory torched last week by rioters (AFP)
Taiwan-owned furniture factory torched last week by rioters (AFP)

China has evacuated more than 3,000 Chinese nations from Vietnam as of Saturday afternoon. The evacuations were by chartered plane and ships, according to Chinese media. The evacuations follow a week where thousands of anti-Chinese protesters in Vietnam, furious over China's installation of an oil rig in waters in the South China Sea historically claimed by Vietnam, turned violent and torched a number of factories in a southern Vietnam industrial park, killing two and injuring hundreds. Following that, a mob of a thousand Vietnamese protesters stormed a Taiwanese steel mill in Vietnam, hunted down Chinese workers, killing one, and torched the complex.

China is demanding that Vietnam take tougher measures to punish rioters. According to a Chinese official, "We are strongly dissatisfied by the Vietnamese side failure to respond effectively to curb an escalation."

Vietnamese officials normally don't permit anti-Chinese demonstrations, for fear of antagonizing the Chinese. It's believed that last week's demonstrations were approved by the government, to show displeasure at China's actions in the South China Sea. Chinese officials are now saying that "illegal acts" would be stopped, as they could damage national stability. However, anti-Chinese dissident groups have urged new demonstrations on Sunday. Xinhua and BBC

Taiwanese businesses bear the brunt of Vietnam's riots

More than 100 Taiwanese companies operating in Vietnam were affected by last week's riots. At least 11 buildings were set on fire. Hundreds of family members of Taiwanese employees have been evacuated, while about 70 Taiwanese staffers remain in Vietnam to oversee the situation.

Many Vietnamese workers in Taiwan are becoming concerned that the anti-China riots in Vietnam are going to affect them. One Vietnamese worker in Taiwan said that she feels sorry for the Taiwanese who have suffered losses in Vietnam. "I feel terrible and very sad because Taiwanese people are all very friendly and nice." There are currently over 489,000 foreign workers in Taiwan, 25.6% of whom are from Vietnam, the second-largest source of migrant workers in Taiwan.

The actions by China to install an oil rig in waters that are in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone is what triggered last week's riots, but the anti-Chinese feelings in Vietnam go far deeper than that. According to one analyst:

"Riots can easily start over minor issues that then get conflated with others. These are factory workers, not political science or history scholars. They have 'Chinese' overseers, they feel that these people are not nice to them and now they - or someone like them - is invading the country."

In other words, the riots may have been triggered by bad working conditions in Chinese businesses as well as bad working conditions in Vietnamese businesses. This would be an embarrassment to the Vietnamese government. Focus Taiwan and Focus Taiwan and BBC

Generational History of Vietnam

I posted this generational history of Vietnam several years ago, and with Vietnam in the news again, now would be a good time to look at it again.

Vietnam's last generational crisis war was the civil war of the 1960s and 1970s. The war was not fought against the Americans, though the Americans were there, supporting the South Vietnamese. It was fought between the North and the South, and the Americans were irrelevant.

In fact, generational crisis wars between North and South Vietnam have occurred regularly, every 70-90 years, since North and South Vietnam have had different ethnic origins. North Vietnam (Vietnamese Kingdom) was originally populated by ethnic Chinese, while South Vietnam (Champa Kingdom) was populated by Polynesian settlers from Indonesia and Malaysia. These ethnic differences resulted in one crisis war after another over the centuries, whether the Americans were there or not.

Generational crisis wars in 1471 and 1545 finally ended the Champa Kingdom in the south, and also drove out the Chinese Army from the north. However, the country remained partitioned until the Tay-Son rebellion, 1771-1790, the most celebrated military event in Vietnamese history. In its explosive climax in 1789, the Vietnamese troops repelled a much larger Chinese army in a brilliant battle that united the country for the first time.

The generational awakening era that followed the Tay-Son rebellion changed the country enormously. The 1800s were the high point of literary culture in Vietnamese history, and, thanks to the French, Christianity bloomed, with hundreds of thousands of Catholic conversions from Confucianism and Buddhism. That lasted until the next crisis war, the French conquest of Indochina in 1865-1885.

Under the French, the Catholic Church flourished, opening missions, schools and hospitals all over the country.

Vietnam's next Awakening era featured riots and demonstrations directed at the French colonialists, and the rise of Ho Chi Minh. Ho took part in the founding of the French Communist Party in 1920, and formed the Revolutionary Youth League in Vietnam in 1925. Ho led numerous anti-colonial uprisings in the following decades, and during WW II, Ho formed the Viet Minh political / relief organization, for people starving to death thanks to confiscation of goods by the occupying Japanese.

After WW II, Ho Chi Minh led the effort to drive the French from Vietnam, and succeeded with human wave assaults against a large French encampment at Dien Bien Phu in 1954.

With the French gone, Vietnam was once again partitioned into North and South. Ho controlled the North, with support from the Soviet Union and China, and over half a million Catholics migrated from the North to the South. America feared that South Vietnam would also fall under Communist control.

This was the time when America had fought two world wars, and was desperately fearful of a third one on the horizon, this time with the Communists. It was considered essential to stop Communism before it could become too threatening, and so America endeavored to stop Communism from spreading from North to South Vietnam. America began providing advisors in the 1950s, growing to full-scale armed intervention in the 1960s. The North-South crisis civil war finally ended in 1974, with Hanoi's victory, followed by Hanoi's reign of terror.

Today, Vietnam is well into one more generational awakening era. When President Bush visited Vietnam in 2006, the young people of Saigon (they don't like to call it Ho Chi Minh city) lined the streets and cheered wildy, expressing admiration for America, and also hostility towards their Hanoi masters.

Today, even Hanoi wants to be friends with America, to counter threats from China in the South China Sea.

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, China, Vietnam, South China Sea, Taiwan, Vietnamese Kingdom, Champa Kingdom, Tay-Son rebellion
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