Vietnamese protest China, Commemorate Loss of Paracel

19 January 2008

Despite not receiving support from the Vietnamese government who insists on the people letting the government deal with the dispute its own ways, Vietnamese people are continuing to find ways to express their opposition against Chinese expansionism in Southeast Asia, specifically the invasion and occupation of the Paracel and Spratly islands which are claimed by Vietnam.

On 19 January 2008, a group called Independent Journalist Club staged their protest on the steps of the City Opera House in Downtown Saigon to commemorate the loss of Paracel Islands to China in 1974, after China sent its navy to invade the islands and took it over after clashing with the South Vietnamese navy in a battle in which South Vietnam lost 58 men as well as a number of ships.

The protesters raised banners asserting Vietnam's sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly archipelagos, as well as called for the boycott of the 2008 Olympics held in Beijing. Even though the protest was not allowed to carry on long by the police before it was forcefully disrupted and put an end to, the Vietnamese people made it clear that they did not want to let this anniverary pass by in silence.

In solidarity with Vietnamese students campaigning against Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea, Vietnamese living and studying in other countries are also staging their own protests in front of Chinese embassies and consulates. A protest is scheduled to take place in Houston, TX on this same day local time.


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