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Talk of the day - Taiwanese employ self-protection strategies in Vietnam

2014/05/18 19:20:36

Out of rising fears of being targeted by anti-China mobs, Taiwanese businesses operating in Vietnam have adopted self-protection strategies, including those of hiring local security guards or concealing Chinese characters on signboards.

Vietnam has been Taiwan's key overseas production base, apart from mainland China, thanks to their cultural similarities. However, Taiwan-invested factories at industrial zones in southern Vietnam were the most affected by anti-China protests that turned violent earlier this week over a Chinese oil-drilling venture in the waters which Honai regards as its exclusive economic zone.

Dozens of Taiwan-invested plants were set ablaze using gasoline bombs during attacks by angry protesters and looted by mobs who mostly failed to distinguish between Taiwanese and Chinese nationals.

On Sunday, sporadic protests took place around Vietnam. Many Taiwanese businesses, also known as "Taishang," had major concerns that they might yet again be targeted if the protests spiraled out of control.

The following are excerpts from newspaper reports on the issue:

United Daily News:

Many Taishangs operating in Vietnam decided to halt their operations on May 18, when anti-China Vietnamese activists will hold nationwide protests over the Chinese oil-drilling venture.

A Taiwanese executive staff, known by the surname Hsu, working at a paper mill in the southern Vietnamese province of Binh Duong, stated that the plant has resumed operations the day before yesterday as the situation returned to normal after the riots earlier during the week.

The company has still employed local security guards and anti-riot police at its expense to protect the mill in the hopes that Sunday will pass peacefully.

Hsu noted that 16 other Taiwanese expats are staying back to keep the mill operational.

"Most Taishangs believe that things can't get worse, otherwise they would not have stayed on," remarked a Tseng-surnamed Taiwanese executive staff working at the Binh Duong Dragon Industrial Zone.

Many Taishangs in Binh Duong have checked into local hotels since Saturday, Tseng stated, adding that they are all prepared to evacuate to the neighboring country of Cambodia or head directly to the airports if the situation deteriorates.

Despite mob attacks, Taishangs offered unconditional protection to Chinese workers during the peak of the anti-China riots in southern Vietnam, on May 13.

Liao Yu-chu, the former chairwoman of the Council of Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce in Vietnam, had once offered shelter to six Chinese expats at her home.

"They couldn't afford to live in hotels," she stated.

Within 24 hours of the onset of the May 13 riots, no Chinese workers were safe. They could likely be killed by nearly insane Vietnamese mobs, Liao claimed. (May 18, 2014)

China Times:

As Taishangs in Vietnam worry about their safety, various self-protection plans were circulated online for the reference of businessmen.

On Facebook, one of the world's most popular social networking sites, a civil group posted an "Evacuation SOP" guideline and advised Taishangs to travel light and to evacuate in groups.

Some netizens have even mapped out three evacuation routes, suggesting that those living in proxomity to Ho Chi Minh City can go directly to the airport, while others can cross over to Cambodia through southern border exits.

Those who are unable to exit Vietnam easily can head to Ho Chi Minh City where they will be able to get shelter assistance.

Moreover, a golf resort in Vung Tau City, located 110 kilometers northeast of Ho Chi Minh, offered free accommodation to Taishangs to escape from mob attacks. (May 18, 2014)

(By Elizabeth Hsu)