As China has emerged the world’s second economic power and military superpower, it has become more and more assertive with its neighboring countries regarding the naturally uninhabitable islands such as Senkaku, Paracels, Scarborough Shoal and Spratlys. China, which has the largest military manpower, has incessantly engaged Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines almost on the daily basis with China Maritime Surveillance (CMS) and its fishing fleet of thousand boats.
In the case of Senkaku, Japan has the capability to defend itself thanks to its economic power and sophisticated military defense power. Japan has been able to repel any Chinese intrusions. Japanese Coast Guard has used its powerful water hoses to chase away fishing fleets of China or Taiwan from encroaching into the water of Senkaku.
In the case of disputes between China and Vietnam or the Philippines, these countries are no match to the Chinese naval forces. China has shown its naval might as it pleases by sending its naval ships and fishing ships to roam through the East Sea/ South China Sea/ West Philippines Sea whenever it wants to.
Facing this unequal and constant threats and harassments against Filipino and Vietnamese fishermen, Filipino and Vietnamese governments have taken different approaches after endless diplomatic protests with China.
The Filipino government has initiated the process of bringing the case to the International Court for arbitration, whereas the Vietnamese government adheres to the principle of good neighborhood, a policy of “16 chữ vàng, 4 tốt”, enunciated by PRC and Secretary General of Communist Party of China (CPC) Jiāng Zémín to the Vietnamese communist (CPV) leaders in 2000. As Vietnam and China share the same communist ideals and are led by the Communist Parties, Vietnam has accepted the principle of CPC being the big brother to CPV.
Despite the good relationship between CPC and CPV, Vietnamese fishermen have continued to endure the harassments, kidnappings, confiscations and even murders by the PLA’s naval forces. The plights of Vietnamese fishermen, who are at the mercy of China’ naval forces, have been well-documented in a documentary movie Hoàng Sa Việt Nam: Nỗi đau mất mát – La Meurtrissure/ Painful Loss by a French-Vietnamese activist André Menras. Ironically, this movie has been banned in Vietnam due to its “sensitive issues.” Hoàng Sa (Paracels) islands were invaded by Chinese forces in 1974 and have been occupied ever since even though Vietnam has the legal and historical evidences of its sovereignty. China has refused to negociate the occupation
According to the Vietnamese newspapers Tiền Phong, captain Bùi Văn Phải and 9 member crew of the fishing ship QNg 96382 were about to leave the fishing ground close by island Lin Côn on March 20, 2013, when China Maritime Surveillance (CMS) ship chased them away for 30 minutes before openning fire at the small fishing ship without any warning or reason. The cabin of the ship was on fire with its 4 gasoline tanks still on the boat, Mr. Thạch ventured himself to the deck of the ship in attempt to stop the fire. Luckily, the CMS ship had left the scene. The crew has safely returned to shore on March 22, 2013.
According to the captain, Mr. Phải estimates the cost of repair the ship and the loss of sea catches can amount to a few dozen thousands of USD.
There have been 4 incidents taken place in March around Hoàng Sa (Paracels); the two Vetnamese fishing boats were chased away earlier this month was widely reported by China’s media. Mr. Phải’s ship QNg 96382 was one of these two ships, which were chased away on March 13.
Two days earlier, March 11, two another boats, also from Quang Ngai, faced the same situation. Bui Tan Thanh, the captain of the QNg 96679 TS boat, said when his boat, with 18 fishermen on board, was operating off Linh Con Island, a part of Hoang Sa, a Chinese ship appeared and scared his boat away by using hose reels to spray water into his vessel. The Chinese ship was escorted by a Chinese marine police boat that used a loudspeaker to deliver a warning in Vietnamese that the fishing boat had to leave the sea area, Thanh said.
Le Khoi, the owner of another boat, said a Chinese ship had sprayed water through hose reels into his boat, causing the cabin’s window to be broken. The crew of the boat had to pump water out and sailed as fast as possible towards Ly Son Island, Khoi said.
On March 17, the fishing boat QNg 50949 Captain Bùi Văn Trung was boarded by the CMS personel and the boat was ransacked and the sea catches were stolen.
It is so amazing about the courage of these Vietnamese fishermen to put their lives at the mercy of China’s naval forces in order to make a living for their families and also to defend the national sovereignty.
These escalations and the use of lethal force by the Chinese naval forces were initially reported by the state news media Tiền Phong; however, the coverage was taken down 8 hours later without any explanation.
The initial report of the Chinese Naval Forces Shooting at Vietnamese fishermen.
A few hours later, the report link was taken down without explanation.
However, some other official media continue to report the escalation and the shooting by Chinese naval forces.
According to the Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh denies existence of any escalation or tension in the East Sea/South China Sea/ West Philippines Sea and appeals for calmness and appeasement.
It is very surprising to hear the assessment of the situation of East Sea by the Vietnamese Defense Minister. It is either that government is in denial or willingness to close its eyes to let Chinese naval forces to do whatever they like on the Vietnamese fishermen as long as they do not attack on the Vietnamese naval forces. The escalation of Chinese harassment and intimidation against Vietnamese fishermen are not a cause for concern to the Vietnamese government because the government and CPV have a good working relation and good neigborhood policy with the Chinese government and CPC.
As all Vietnamese news media is under the control of the Party and State, private news media is non-existent except for online blogs. The censorship about the shooting at Vietnamese fishermen has been speculated in the blogosphere that
- either the CPV and government want to cool down the Vietnamese public anger and prevent the potential of anti-China demonstrations or
- the Vienam’s leaders are too comfortable in their seats of power and have no more will protect the citizens as long as the big brother CPC let them rule Vietnam without any obvious aggression against Vietnam’s Armed Forces.
China’s naval forces could have been more humane with Vietnamese fishermen who need to make a living for their loved ones. If China thought the fishermen were fishing in the disputed areas, they could have just used non lethal force like water hose to chase these fishing boats away. These fishermen only fish in the Vietnamese water and follow the Vietnamese authorities’ instructions and maps. Chinese authorities should take the matter or conflict directly with the Vietnamese authorities.
Please do not slaughter these innocent fishermen as they are not pawns in the political games of the two countries and two parties.
The Party and State enjoy the full apparatus of news media in order to shape the public opinion for the benefits of the Party and the State. Vietnam now has 812 newspaper agencies, 74 electronic newspapers and magazines, 336 social networks, 1,174 general electronic information pages, 67 television and radio stations, and nearly 17,000 authorised journalists.
At the recent Vietnamese journalist conference, the key speaker was police general Le Hong Anh, Politburo member ranked number 5, Party Secretariat standing member, and former Minister of Public Security. He exhorted the press work better to efficiently and effectively communicate Party and State policies.
The press should efficiently and effectively communicate Party and State policies, guidelines and laws and promote the achievements of the national renewal process.
Politburo member ranked number 5, Party Secretariat standing member Le Hong Anh made this statement at a conference to discuss the responsibilities of the press in 2013, which took place in Hanoi on March 19.
Following the instruction, the conference clarified the shortcomings of the press, analysed their causes and drew lessons in communication and the monitoring and management of the press.
Targets and measures to realise the major tasks of the press for 2013 were also worked out.
Concluding the gathering, Politburo member, Secretary of the Party Central Committee (PCC) and Head of the PCC Commission for Communication and Education, Dinh The Huynh, reiterated the major tasks assigned to the press for 2013, including collecting the public’s comments on the draft amendments to the 1992 Constitution; realising Party, National Assembly and Government resolutions on renewing the growth model; restructuring the economy, curbing inflation, maintaining a reasonable growth rate, and stabilising the macro-economy, in addition to enhancing Party building and ensuring social welfare, security and national defence.
Source Nhan Dan