Version anglaise de l’article paru sur Unidivers.
The relationship between Vietnam and China is a love-hate relationship for over 1000 years. Recently, riots happened in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, killing dozens of Chinese citizens and the destruction of businesses. How did we get here?
A tumultuous history
To better understand the nationalistic sentiments that are expressed in the street, we must return to the history of Vietnam. It starts from 43 BC, when the Chinese General Ma Yuan settled Chinese rules on the Vietnamese territory. The first great hero of Vietnam is Tran Hung Dao, that each city has a street or a square. He puts an end to Chinese era between 1257 and 1288. But independence was short-lived. China was called again in support of internal power struggles and the opportunity to regain its dominance. In 1418, Le Loi launched a revolt against Chineses. This will give rise to the Le dynasty. Then came the French progressive colonization from the 1600s which gives alphabet with the Jesuit Alexandre De Rhodes, in parallel with the takeover of the Nguyen Dynasty. In 1885, after the capture of the imperial capital Hue by Frenchs, Vietnam is divided into three provinces: Tonkin, Annam and Cochin China. Then came the Japanese occupation during the Second World War and finally the war of independence led by Ho Chi Minh, whose patriarchal figure remains important for unity and peace in the country. However, it is recognized that Uncle Ho was outvoted during the end of his life, towards a more hard-line of the Communist Party of Vietnam. China was with Russia, support for independence against French troops and the Americans. China took distance during the conflict between Vietnam and Cambodia, supporting the second during the Khmer Rouge era, while Soviet Russia continued to support the first.
The Paracels Island
But what causes today the tension in Sino-Vietnamese relations, is due to the territorial problem of Paracel Islands. Chinese speech is clear: not to abandon any historically territory occupied by China . This creates a different, for example, with Japan in the Senkaku islands. The Paracel Islands, located in the China Sea are disputed between Vietnam, China, Taiwan and the Philippines. But if China already boasts a return of the entire Taiwan territory in its lap, the country is particularly interested with those islands for several reasons: Its geo-strategic position, its interest in the fishery resources and oil resources . Thus, China has installed an oil platform in the waters of the islands, triggering the crisis. A Vietnamese fishing vessel was also boarded by Chinese vessels who want to protect the sovereignty of the territory. China accused vietnamese to hit its boat willingly but violated international rules with no help to the vietnamese fishermen.
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