ASIA/VIETNAM - Anti-Chinese protests and violence: civil society and the Catholics ask for non-violence

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Hanoi (Agenzia Fides) – To protest is legitimate, but has to be peaceful and non-violent. This is what civil society movements and Catholics in Vietnam ask for, after the serious riots and mass violence carried out yesterday, 14 May, against the Chinese owners of factories in Vietnam. The tension between the two countries concerns the disputed islands in the South China Sea, the archipelago of Parcels, where the Ciona in past days started a new drilling platform, considered a provocative act from Vietnam.
The riots, which began in the southern provinces, quickly spread to other parts of the country, arousing concern.
In a message sent to Fides, the "Vietnam Path Movement", which brings together human rights activists and members of religion protection, including Christians, reaffirms its commitment to non-violence. The movement calls on the government to find a solution to the chaos and calls on workers, citizens, students, to abandon all forms of violence. "To demonstrate in a peaceful manner is a fundamental right. What is illegal are acts that damage other people's property and to commit assaults, which violates the rights of others, and are punishable by law", says the message, which urges all citizens to have a calm attitude. To strike, as some workers of some Chinese factories in the South did, is legitimate.
These acts - the text continues - encourage violence against all Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean and Japanese companies in the area and disrupt peaceful coexistence which is the good of the country. Entrepreneurs affected are totally unrelated to the current tensions between Vietnam and China. Violent protests can create a negative image of Vietnam at an international level. This is why the movement calls for the intervention of the international community.
Fr. Peter, a Vietnamese priest of the diocese of Hue, told Fides: "As Catholics we defend our homeland. The Bishops have invited us to pray and to be prepared to defend and save the nation. We believe that to protest is a right, but it is necessary to always follow a path of non-violence, with the aim of reaching a peaceful solution". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 15/05/2014)