Vietnam activists thank Philippines


ACTIVISTS in Vietnam held a brief rally outside the Philippine Embassy in Hanoi Sunday, holding up a banner that said “Thank you Philippines. You have a brave government.”

The group was part of demonstrations in the Vietnamese capital to protest against China, after it rejected a recent international ruling that dismissed Beijing’s claims to much of the South China Sea.

Anti-Chinese sentiment runs deep in communist Vietnam but the country’s authoritarian rulers move swiftly to tamp down expressions of public anger, fearful that allowing such protests might embolden criticism of their rule.

Activists had used social media to call for protests in Hanoi on Sunday in the wake of this week’s ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, which found there was no legal basis for Beijing’s claims to vast swathes of the South China Sea.

The case was brought by the Philippines but the ruling has been a boon for other regional countries like Vietnam who also have competing claims to the strategic sea.