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Police break up anti-China rallies in Vietnam

Posted by Nuttapon_S On December - 9 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

Vietnamese police detain at least 20 activists as hundreds protest China’s claim over oil and gas-rich South China Sea.

Vietnamese police have broken up anti-China protests in two cities and detained 20 people in the first such demonstrations since tensions between the communist neighbours flared anew over rival claims to the oil and gas-rich South China Sea.

Hundreds of protesters, some waving banners and chanting “Down with China’s aggression!”, were intercepted by security forces as they tried to approach the Chinese embassy in the capital, Hanoi, on Sunday.

Activists at the scene said that the 20 demonstrators were rounded up into a bus after the half-hour rally, the fifth such display of public discontent in Hanoi this year against Beijing’s perceived aggression in the sea.

Security forces also broke up a similar anti-China protest in the southern economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City.

Protesters shouted “Down with China” and carried banners bearing the slogan “China’s military expansion threatens world peace and security.”

Using loudspeakers, authorities urged them to disperse and tried to reassure them that “the Communist Party and government are resolutely determined to defend our country’s sovereignty and territory through peaceful means based on international law.”

Territorial dispute

Vietnam and China have long sparred over who owns the South China Sea, which is also claimed in whole or part by Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Vietnam last week alleged that Chinese shipping vessels sabotaged one of its seismic survey vessels in the South China Sea.

This week the government warned Beijing not to do that again and presented a list of its violations in the disputed sea.

China responded by denying the allegations and demanding that Vietnam stop its navy harassing Chinese boats.

China recently issued new passports containing a map showing the sea as belonging to it, causing anger in Hanoi and other regional states.

The South China Sea is strategically significant, home to some of the world’s most important shipping lanes and believed to be rich in resources.

Burma apologises for police attack on protesting monks

Posted by Nuttapon_S On December - 8 - 2012 ADD COMMENTS

The government in Burma has apologised to Buddhist monks for the injuries sustained during a police operation outside a copper mine nine days ago.

More than 50 people, including 20 monks, were injured when police tried to clear protesters who said local farmers had been forced off the land.

Injuries included severe burns blamed on incendiary devices thrown by police.

The raid last month was the toughest action since a more reformist government came to power last year.

The BBC’s South East Asia correspondent, Jonathan Head, says the apology reflects the government’s nervousness over the role of monks, who command high public respect.

They often take up political and social causes, bringing them into conflict with the authorities.

Joint venture

Religious Affairs Minister Myint Maung told a delegation of senior monks that the police regretted the injuries, which he blamed on the “incompetency” of the authorities.

He said the government would do its utmost to prevent such incidents happening again.

It has established a commission of inquiry, headed by opposition leader Aung Sung Suu Kyi.

She visited the area last Friday and demanded an apology for the monks.

Eight people have been charged in connection with the protests. They are being held in Insein prison in Rangoon.

The Monywa copper mine in northern Burma is a joint venture between a Chinese company and Myanmar Economic Holdings, owned by the Burmese military.

Hundreds of people are alleged to have been forced from their land to make way for a $1bn (£620m) expansion of the mine.

More than 7,800 acres (3,200 hectares) of land is being appropriated. Considerable damage to the environment is also reported.

Activists are calling for work at the project to be suspended to allow impact studies to be carried out, but China insists that the contentious points have already been resolved.