DECLARATION OF A GROUP OF CONCERNED FORMER VIETNAMESE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN NEW ZEALAND REGARDING UNLAWFUL ACTS OF CHINESE NAVY AGAINST VIETNAMESE FISHERMEN IN THE EAST SEA
(AKA SOUTH CHINA SEA)
Recently Chinese naval forces have increased their bullying and unlawful acts of aggression against Vietnamese fishermen in the East Sea. They brazenly ordered the fishermen to stop fishing in the waters hitherto considered part of Vietnamese territory. Chinese war vessels have unlawfully confiscated the catches and boats belonging to the Vietnamese fishermen. They even arrested and brutalized the fishermen and held them for ransom, euphemistically called “fines” by the Chinese. Furthermore, they videoed the chase, the capture, and the brutalization of the fishermen and then showed the videos in China and in international media with the express purpose of gloating about their “victories” and intimidating the Vietnamese people (http://mil.news.sina.com.cn/2009-07-02/0844557400.html). The latest illustration of Chinese brutality and criminality involved the following event. Around 1:30 a.m. of July 15, 2009, an unidentified (read: Chinese) vessel deliberately rammed a Vietnamese fishing boat, causing it to sink and injury to the nine fishermen on board. The unidentified vessel then raced away in the darkness. This attempted act of premeditated murder was truly reprehensible.
We strongly condemn these expansionist and unlawful acts of aggression of China. The demands for ransom from the Chinese government are naked acts of piracy. We bring them to the attention of the international community and demand that China:
1. Stop immediately all expansionist and unlawful acts of aggression against the Vietnamese fishermen mentioned above.
2. Release immediately all detained Vietnamese fishermen and their boats, pay in full the damages to the boats and the values of the confiscated catches.
We are very disappointed with the response to date of the Vietnamese government regarding the expansionist and unlawful acts of China. So far, the response has been muted and timid which results in continuing and increasing aggression on the part of China.
A government has a sacred duty to defend the territorial integrity of the country it governs and to protect its citizens from acts of unprovoked and unlawful aggression and violence from other countries. A government that fails or refuses to do so is deemed to lose its legitimacy in the eyes of its citizens. It also loses respect in the international community.
Vietnam is not a vassal, tributary state of China. Vietnam is a sovereign country; as such, it must act like one.
We, the undersigned, the expatriate Vietnamese once studied at New Zealand universities, are reacting to the events in the East Sea with increasing concern and outrage and urging the Vietnamese government to do something more forceful and effective in order to regain its legitimacy among its citizens and the respect from other countries, especially Vietnam’s neighbours.
Date: 20th July 2009
Quang Long Le (University of Canterbury)...Thi Ngoc Bich Tran (University of Canterbury)
Van Thanh Nguyen (The University of Auckland)..Khoa Ba Ngo (Victoria University of Wellington)
Hung Nguyen (University of Canterbury)...Phan Long Pham (The University of Auckland)
Van Tuyet Duong (University of Canterbury)...Van Xa Nguyen (The University of Auckland)
Van Tu Nguyen (University of Canterbury)...Thu Lieu Le (University of Canterbury)
Mai Chi Thi Nguyen (University of Canterbury)...Danh Ngon Nguyen (University of Canterbury)
Mai Van Tran (Massey University).....Phuong Tran (Massey University)
Thị Nhung Do (Victoria University of Wellington)...Khanh Tuoc Trinh (University of Canterbury)
Hai Nguyen (University of Otago).....Dieu Huong Tran ( University of Canterbury)
Dang Hoang Le (University of Canterbury)....Tuyet Huynh Le (The University of Auckland)
Huu Han Huynh ( Massey university) ....Chau Minh Tran (Victoria University)
Gia Tuyen Do ( University of Canterbury) ....Hung Nguyen ( The University of Auckland)
The Hung Vu (University of Otago).... Quyet Vu (Victoria University Wellington)
Triet Minh Ngo (The University of Auckland)