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Vietnam detains 100 after anti-China economic zone protests turn violent

June 11, 2018 4:07 pm

Scores of people have been detained by Vietnamese police amid protests against plans for special economic zones (SEZs) that many fear will be dominated by Chinese investors.

Molotov cocktails and rocks were lobbed at the People’s Committee Headquarters in south-eastern Binh Thuan province, where police said 102 people were held.

The proposed law would give foreign investors 99-year leases on SEZ land.

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MPs had been set to vote on it this week but this has been delayed.

The decision to postpone the vote in an attempt to defuse the protests was seen as a major concession by the ruling communist party in response to large-scale street demonstrations.

The chairwoman of parliament, Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, said that people’s opinions “will always be heard”.

China’s embassy in Hanoi has warned its citizens to be careful, referring to the protests as “illegal gatherings” that had included some “anti-China content”.

Demonstrators had gathered in various parts of the country over the weekend, including the major urban centres of Hanoi, the capital, and Ho Chi Minh City.

Some carried anti-China banners, including one reading: “No leasing land to China even for one day.”

Why is the South China Sea contentious?

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