Vietnam’s Protests Will Complicate The Clinching Of Any Pragmatic Deal With China

Scores of people gathered in several cities all across Vietnam in order to draw attention to what they fear is China’s imminent exploitation of a proposed bill on Special Economic Zones (SEZ) that will give investors 99-year leases on land in three coastal regions. Their concerns are just speculation at this point since there’s no evidence that this would be the case, but anti-Chinese sentiment is a strong galvanizing force in Vietnamese society given that its people are still very sensitive about their country’s nearly 1,000 year-long occupation by their northern neighbor over a millennium ago, which persists in their psyche to this day and is periodically brought up whenever discussing Vietnam’s dispute with China over the South China Sea.

The protesters fear that their government will use the new legislation to cut a quid pro quo deal with China by granting it nearly century-long leases in parts of these three strategic economic regions in exchange for what might be Beijing turning a blind eye to Hanoi’s offshore drilling operations in contested waters, though it must be emphasized that this is all just conjecture for the time being no matter the patriotic intent of the demonstrators. Some of the challenges that have arisen since last week’s protests is that the government is now aware that civil society representatives are capable of organizing spontaneous rallies all across the country, something that could be taken advantage of by third parties eager to exploit Vietnamese nationalism for destabilizing ends.

Special Economic Zones

Relatedly, the government’s arrest of some of the protesters has spawned accusations from fringe members of this movement that the police overstepped their constitutional authority, thus threatening to turn what had originally been economic demonstrations into political ones that are just as anti-communist as they are anti-Chinese, though provided that the coordinators are skillful enough to manipulate the masses to this Hybrid War end. As the final point, regardless of the current protest movement’s staying power – which isn’t expected to be much – the latest outbreak of demonstrations makes it all the more difficult for Vietnam to reach any pragmatic deal with China in the future no matter what the terms might be now that Hanoi sees just how controversial any agreement – whether real or imagined – with Beijing is to its citizens.

The post presented is the partial transcript of the CONTEXT COUNTDOWN radio program on Sputnik News, aired on Friday Jun 15, 2018:

DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution. 

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4 Comments
  1. Face The Fact

    Vietnam is spitting on its own face and its patriots died defending it from american invasion by inviting American warboats into its harbor.

    Don’t forget that its the American who bombed Vietnam with napalm and agent orange. There are more than enough disfigured ones in Vietnam as proof.

    Before Vietnam acts as if it is a victim and not an aggressor, or even a would be colonialist if left unchecked by China, let’s check the historical facts shall we?

    Thais, Cambodians and Laotians hate the Vietnamese. They hate the Vietnamese on the savage history of Vietnam against their neighbors. Vietnam’s genocidal policies against Cham people (Kingdom of Champa in today Central Vietnam), half of Cambodia (or Khmer) land (became
    South Vietnam to Ho Chi Minh City), and Laos Kingdom was taken by Vietnamese as its new province.

    Despite the above historical fact, when China claimed two islands: Paracel and Spratley, the Vietnamese jumping and screaming crying
    out loud for justice showing how hypocritical they are.

    The Vietnamese cannot take the South without helps from foreigners like China. Without China’s help there will be no Vietnam today.

  2. Prof Jacques NGUYEN de Paris.

    Face the fact should go back to the college to learn the real facts !

  3. The above words are definitely from a loud mouthed Chinese. You are lousy expansionists!

  4. Face the Fact: China had colonized Vietnam for thousand years. During those years, how much crime and cruelty did China commit on Vietnamese people? How many Vietnamese people had been killed by different Chinese empires and the Chinese communist party? We Vietnamese people will never tolerate any Chinese expansion into our territory! Please bring your sh*tty Belt and filty Road to different places in the world, but not Vietnam. Enough is enough!

    Just look at what China did to special economy zones in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Laos. Horrible things happened to local people everywhere China’s been to!

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