Factories burned in anti-China protest in Vietnam

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Factories burned in anti-China protest in Vietnam
A firefighter runs as Taiwanese bicycle factory Tan Than Industries burns in Di An Town, Binh Duong province, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
Firefighters stand across from the main entrance of Tan Than Industries as the Taiwanese bicycle factory burns, in Di An Town, Binh Duong province, Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
A police officer gestures while on the scene in front of a burning factory in Di An Town, Binh Duong province, Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
Papers keep burning as Taiwanese bicycle factory Tan Than Industries smolders in Di An Town, Binh Duong province, Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
Locals collect metal fragments from the debris of a burning Chinese factory in Di An Town, Binh Duong province, Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
Stored items are exposed as Taiwanese bicycle factory Tan Than Industries burns in Di An Town, Binh Duong province, Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
A local collects metal fragments from the debris of a burning Chinese factory in Di An Town, Binh Duong province, Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
Protesters embrace while standing on the corner of a street in Quan Doan 4, Binh Duong province, near Song Than 2 Industrial Park in Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. The unrest at industrial parks near Ho Chi Minh City is the most serious outbreak of public disorder in the tightly controlled country in years. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
A protester waves a Vietnamese flag while standing amongst motorcyclists in Quan Doan 4, Binh Duong province, near Song Than 2 Industrial Park in Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. The unrest at industrial parks near Ho Chi Minh City is the most serious outbreak of public disorder in the tightly controlled country in years. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
A protesters holds a Vietnamese flag while getting onto a motorbike on the corner of a street in Quan Doan 4, Binh Duong province, near Song Than 2 Industrial Park in Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. The unrest at industrial parks near Ho Chi Minh City is the most serious outbreak of public disorder in the tightly controlled country in years. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
A protester waves a Vietnamese flag while standing on the corner of a street in Quan Doan 4, Binh Duong province, near Song Than 2 Industrial Park in Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. The unrest at industrial parks near Ho Chi Minh City is the most serious outbreak of public disorder in the tightly controlled country in years. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
Firefighters and others stand by the main entranceway to Tan Than Industries as the Taiwanese bicycle factory burns in Di An Town, Binh Duong Province, Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
A man looks at the damaged building of Taiwanese bicycle factory Tan Than in Di An Town, Binh Duong Province, Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
A riot police officer checks the paperwork of a local driver in front of Taiwanese factory Tan Than Industries, in Di An Town, Binh Duong Province, Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
A local walks by after collecting metal fragments from the debris of burning Chinese factory ACAMA in Di An Town, Binh Duong province, Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
Smoke comes out from burning Chinese factory ACAMA in Di An Town, Binh Duong province, Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
People gather around firefighters working at the main entrance of Tan Than Industries as the Taiwanese bicycle factory burns in Di An Town, Binh Duong province, Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
Protesters stand on the corner of a street in Quan Doan 4, Binh Duong province, near Song Than 2 Industrial Park in Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. The unrest at industrial parks near Ho Chi Minh City is the most serious outbreak of public disorder in the tightly controlled country in years. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
Firefighters work to extinguish a fire at Taiwanese bicycle factory Tan Than Industries in Di An Town, Binh Duong Province, Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
Locals collect metal fragments from the debris of a burning factory in Di An Town, Binh Duong Province, Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
A police officer stands in front Taiwanese factory Tan Than Industries, following unrest in Di An Town, Binh Duong province, Vietnam, Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Nesmith)
Commuters drive past as riot police (L) stand guard outside a burning factory building (back) in the Vietnamese southern province of Binh Duong on May 14, 2014, as anti-China protesters set more than a dozen factories on fire in Vietnam in the biggest eruption of rage against Beijing for decades over the deployment of an oil rig in contested waters. China expressed 'serious concerns' after Vietnamese workers went on the rampage on May 13, looting goods and attacking offices in a rare outburst of public unrest in the authoritarian communist nation. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Commuters drive past as riot police (L) stand guard outside a burning factory building (back) in the Vietnamese southern province of Binh Duong on May 14, 2014, as anti-China protesters set more than a dozen factories on fire in Vietnam in the biggest eruption of rage against Beijing for decades over the deployment of an oil rig in contested waters. China expressed 'serious concerns' after Vietnamese workers went on the rampage Tuesday, looting goods and attacking offices in a rare outburst of public unrest in the authoritarian communist nation. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
A billboard displays photos, from left, of Vietnam's tourism scenic, Chinese and Vietnamese state leaders official visit and Industrial factories, placed outside the Vietnamese embassy in Beijing Wednesday, May 14, 2014. Anti-China mobs torched up to 15 foreign-owned factories and trashed many more in southern Vietnam amid rising anger over China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials and state media said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Vietnamese protesters stage a rally against Beijing's deployment of an oil rig in the contested waters of the South China Sea, outside the Chinese Embassy on Sunday, May 11, 2014 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The deployment of the rig has a triggered a tense standoff in the ocean and raised fears of confrontation between the neighboring countries. (AP Photo/Chris Brummitt)
A Vietnamese protester holds a banner in a rally against Beijing's deployment of an oil rig in the contested waters of the South China Sea, outside the Chinese Embassy on Sunday, May 11, 2014 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The deployment of the rig has a triggered a tense standoff in the ocean and raised fears of confrontation between the neighboring countries. (AP Photo/Chris Brummitt)
Vietnamese protest outside the Chinese Embassy on Sunday, May 11, 2014 in Hanoi, Vietnam, against Beijing's deployment of an oil rig in the contested waters of the South China Sea. The deployment of the rig has a triggered a tense standoff in the ocean and raised fears of confrontation between the neighboring countries. The banner reads "Hoang Sa is the vietnames term for the the Paracel Islands, Truong Sa is the Vietnamese term for the Spratly Islands." (AP Photo/Chris Brummitt)
Vietnamese protesters stage a rally against Beijing's deployment of an oil rig in the contested waters of the South China Sea, outside the Chinese Embassy on Sunday, May 11, 2014 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The deployment of the rig has a triggered a tense standoff in the ocean and raised fears of confrontation between the neighboring countries. (AP Photo/Chris Brummitt)
Vietnamese protest outside the Chinese Embassy on Sunday, May 11, 2014 in Hanoi, Vietnam, against Beijing's deployment of an oil rig in the contested waters of the South China Sea. The deployment of the rig has a triggered a tense standoff in the ocean and raised fears of confrontation between the neighboring countries. (AP Photo/Chris Brummitt)
Vietnamese protesters hold banners during a protest rally against China outside the Chinese Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Saturday, May 10, 2014. Around 100 people gathered and protested China’s deployment of an oil rig in the disputed South China Sea, in the country's commercial capital. Vietnamese anger toward China is running at its highest level in years after Beijing deployed the oil rig in the disputed water. (AP Photo)
Vietnamese protesters hold up placards during a protest rally against China outside the Chinese Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Saturday, May 10, 2014. Around 100 people gathered and protested China’s deployment of an oil rig in the disputed South China Sea, in the country's commercial capital. Vietnamese anger toward China is running at its highest level in years after Beijing deployed the oil rig in the disputed water. (AP Photo)
Riot police stand guard on a street outside a factory building in Binh Duong on May 14, 2014, as anti-China protesters set more than a dozen factories on fire in Vietnam, according to state media, in an escalating backlash against Beijing's deployment of an oil rig in contested waters. Workers looted goods and attacked offices in a rare outburst of public unrest on May 13 in the authoritarian communist nation, which allowed mass anti-China rallies around Vietnam at the weekend. AFP PHOTO / VNExpress (Photo credit should read VNExpress/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters wave flags and hold placards on a street outside a factory building in Binh Duong on May 14, 2014, as anti-China protesters set more than a dozen factories on fire in Vietnam, according to state media, in an escalating backlash against Beijing's deployment of an oil rig in contested waters. Workers looted goods and attacked offices in a rare outburst of public unrest on May 13 in the authoritarian communist nation, which allowed mass anti-China rallies around Vietnam at the weekend. AFP PHOTO / VNExpress (Photo credit should read VNExpress/AFP/Getty Images)
Riot police stand guard on a street outside a factory building in Binh Duong on May 14, 2014, as anti-China protesters set more than a dozen factories on fire in Vietnam, according to state media, in an escalating backlash against Beijing's deployment of an oil rig in contested waters. Workers looted goods and attacked offices in a rare outburst of public unrest on May 13 in the authoritarian communist nation, which allowed mass anti-China rallies around Vietnam at the weekend. AFP PHOTO / VNExpress (Photo credit should read VNExpress/AFP/Getty Images)
Riot police stand guard on a street as protesters (back) gather in Binh Duong on May 14, 2014, as anti-China protesters set more than a dozen factories on fire in Vietnam, according to state media, in an escalating backlash against Beijing's deployment of an oil rig in contested waters. Workers looted goods and attacked offices in a rare outburst of public unrest on May 13 in the authoritarian communist nation, which allowed mass anti-China rallies around Vietnam at the weekend. AFP PHOTO / VNExpress (Photo credit should read VNExpress/AFP/Getty Images)
Riot police patrol on a street outside a factory building in Binh Duong on May 14, 2014, as anti-China protesters set more than a dozen factories on fire in Vietnam, according to state media, in an escalating backlash against Beijing's deployment of an oil rig in contested waters. Workers looted goods and attacked offices in a rare outburst of public unrest on May 13 in the authoritarian communist nation, which allowed mass anti-China rallies around Vietnam at the weekend. AFP PHOTO / VNExpress (Photo credit should read VNExpress/AFP/Getty Images)
Commuters drive past as riot police (L) stand guard outside a burning factory building (back) in the Vietnamese southern province of Binh Duong on May 14, 2014, as anti-China protesters set more than a dozen factories on fire in Vietnam in the biggest eruption of rage against Beijing for decades over the deployment of an oil rig in contested waters. China expressed 'serious concerns' after Vietnamese workers went on the rampage on May 13, looting goods and attacking offices in a rare outburst of public unrest in the authoritarian communist nation. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
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HANOI, Vietnam (AP) -- Mobs burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China's recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials said Wednesday.

The unrest at industrial parks near Ho Chi Minh City is the most serious outbreak of public disorder in the tightly controlled country in years. It points to the dangers for the government as it tries to manage public anger at China while also itself protesting the Chinese actions in an area of the South China Sea claimed by Vietnam.

Vietnam has sent ships to confront the rig which are engaged in a tense standoff with Chinese vessels protecting it.

The rioting Tuesday into Wednesday in Binh Duong province followed protests by up to 20,000 workers at the industrial parks. Smaller groups of men attacked factories they believed were Chinese-run, but many were Taiwanese or South Korean, the provincial government said in a statement.

On Wednesday morning, groups of men on motorbikes remained on the streets and factories in the area were closed, said a park manager who declined to give his name because of the sensitivity of the situation. Riot police were stationed around the area but men were still seen carrying looted goods, said a security guard, who also declined to be identified.

Firefighters battled to extinguish a fire at Tan Than Industries, a Taiwanese bicycle factory, where walls were toppled in the riots. Smoke poured out of blackened windows at other factories, as people waved Vietnamese flags while riding motorcycles through the streets.



Police said 440 people had been detained over the violence. Tran Van Nam, vice chairman of the Bing Duong government, said Chinese, Taiwanese and South Korean factories that hadn't already shut down had been asked to do so temporarily for the sake of public order. He said the "situation was now under control."

Taiwanese-owned athletic shoe manufacturer Yue Yuen, which makes shoes for Nike, Adidas and Reebok, said it had closed its three complexes close to Ho Chi Minh City as a precautionary measure. "We believe that this should be solved very soon, that somehow ultimately it will be up to the government authorities to guide the overall sentiment," company spokesman Jerry Shum said.

The Singapore government, which operates two industrial parks hit by rioters, called on Vietnam "to act immediately to restore law and order ... before the security situation worsens and investor confidence is undermined."

The security guard said looters stormed his factory at 1 a.m. and took computers and anything valuable.

"The whole industrial zone looks like it was just smashed by a typhoon," the guard said.

Another executive said many foreign-owned factories were putting banners on the gates of the factories saying, "We love Vietnam" and "Hoang Sa, Truong Sa - Vietnam," using the Vietnamese names for the Paracel and Spratly islands claimed by both Vietnam and China.

The government said the protests were initially peaceful but were hijacked by "extremists" who incited people to break into the factories. It said at least 15 factories were set alight and hundreds more vandalized or looted.

China's Foreign Ministry and its embassy in Hanoi issued warnings to Chinese citizens and urged Vietnam's government to protect them. The embassy's website said it saw no end to attacks by what it called anti-China forces and urged Chinese to take safety precautions and avoid unnecessary travel.

Low wages have attracted foreign investors from across the world to Vietnam in recent years.

In 2013 Chinese invested $2.3 billion, a sharp rise from the previous year, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment. The country is also Vietnam's biggest trading partner, exporting billions of dollars of materials each year for factories producing goods including clothes, shoes and smartphones.

Vietnam reacted angrily after China towed a deep-sea oil rig on May 1 close to the Paracel Islands, which are controlled by China but claimed by Hanoi. It sent a flotilla of vessels to try to disrupt the oil rig. Some of the Vietnamese boats clashed with Chinese ships sent to protect the rig, raising fears of a possible conflict.

China has shown no signs of backing down, and accused Vietnam on Wednesday of "hyping" the issue.

"We urge Vietnam to stop all provocative actions, come to their senses, and stop all acts intended to create disturbances," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

The standoff underlines China's aggressive pursuit of its territorial claims despite complaints from smaller nations such as Vietnam and the Philippines, which also claim parts of the waters. The United States, a treaty ally of the Philippines, has called the latest Chinese action "provocative."

Over the weekend, the Vietnamese government gave rare permission for street protests against China in cities across the country.

The protests were enthusiastically covered by the state media, unlike the ones on Tuesday, which appear to have been hit by a media blackout.

The ruling Communist parties in China and Vietnam maintain close links and until May 1 had been trying to handle tensions over the territorial disputes quietly. Vietnamese authorities are normally highly nervous about spontaneous public gatherings of any sort. Many of the leaders of the anti-Chinese protests are also calling for basic democratic reforms, presenting a challenge to one-party rule.

Last month, the Philippines protested China's efforts to reclaim land in a disputed reef in the South China Sea after surveillance aircraft took pictures of dredging by Chinese vessels at Johnson Reef in the Spratly Islands, which the Philippines says violates a regional non-aggression pact, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said.

Del Rosario told The Associated Press that it's not clear what China intends to build on the reef, which Manila claims as part of its western province of Palawan, but one possibility is an airstrip. Another official said China could also build an off-shore military base.
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