3 years later, families of Vietnamese fishermen shot by Chinese navy in 2005 massacre plea for help

By Tony Le
4 April 2008

On 8 January 2005, China's naval forces carried out one of the bloodiest attacks on Vietnamese fishermen ever in the South China Sea. The victims came from Thanh Hoa, one of the poorer provinces in Vietnam. (The accounts of the incident can be found here: http://vietwill.org/content/view/108/237/).

The killing has taken place for three years, but the families of the victims have not found any justice or peace of mind. They are also disappointed with the lack of assistance that they have received from Vietnam in order to demand reparations from China for its serious violation of international law.

In a 30 March 2008 letter of petition that they addressed to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, ASEAN Human Rights Commission, various human rights agencies and organizations, and news agencies, the representatives of the families of the victims in the massacre cry out for help and express their disdain of China’s actions of making aggressions on Vietnamese territories as well as the shooting and killing of innocent Vietnamese fishermen. The writers of the letter, also identifying themselves as the mothers and wives of the victims (photo), say:

"We reside in Hoang Truong village, Hoang Hoa district, Thanh Hoa Province, Vietnam. We represent the families of fishermen killed in the 8 January 2005 massacre in which Chinese naval officers killed 9 of our family members and injured 8 others.

We would like to present to you our petition letter regarding the Chinese government ordering and defending its naval forces to transgress Vietnamese territories and shooting and killing Vietnamese fishermen. The details of the incident are as follow:

On 8 January 2005, our family members were fishing in Vietnamese waters, where for hundreds of years, generations of our forefathers have gone to fish for a living. Suddenly many boats belonging to China’s naval forces illegally entered the territorial waters and shot at two of our fishing boats causing 9 people to die, and 8 others injured. In addition, they took 8 more back to China with them. According to the investigation by the border patrol of Thanh Hoa province, the boats were inside Vietnamese territorial waters when they were attacked. The boats at that time were located at 18’16’’ N and 107’6” E, which is 10 nautical miles from the border mark of the common fishing water between Vietnam and China. The victims captured were very ill treated; for example, they were not given good, were severely beaten, were forced to give depositions through harsh interrogations as criminals day and night without a translator, and were given medical care as if they were little more than animals… Death certificates given by both China and Vietnam left blank the “cause of death”.

In the letter, the families also express their disappointment with the Vietnamese government who they feel has not done enough to help them obtain justice from China.

“The violation of territorial waters and killing of innocent Vietnamese fishermen by Chinese naval forces is a serious violation of international law; however, even though three years have past, our families have not received any response from China. Although Vietnamese agencies have voiced their opinions about this violation, we feel that the Vietnamese government has not been forceful enough, and has not done enough to protect its people.”

The petitioners express that they are well aware of China's hegemonic ambitions and its intentions with regards to Vietnam’s territories.

“We understand that the Chinese government will never cease their ambitions of invading our country, will never cease the ambition of building a Great China, will always look down on our government and our Vietnamese people. Recently, they have egregiously established the Sansha administrative region comprising of Vietnam’s Paracel and Spratly Islands. They are increasingly making aggressions onto our land and waters, and harming our people. The year 2008 is when China hosts the Olympic, which has the great purpose of opening up exchange and increasing friendly collaboration among the countries; however, we see clearly that the Chinese government did not intend to do any of that. The boycotts and protests from people all over the world help us to understand the wicked intentions of the Chinese government even more clearly.

With this petition, we hope that agencies and organizations do your best to help us in our effort to find justice, so that forces that bring about pain and suffering for us take responsibility for the consequences that they have made.”


Anonymous said...

These people should take up their case to the International Court of Justice.

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