China evacuates 3,000 citizens after riots engulf Vietnam

China on Sunday said it has evacuated over 3,000 of its nationals from Vietnam after a wave of anti-China riots ensnared the country, targeting Chinese businesses against Beijing’s deployment of an oil rig in disputed South China Sea waters. “They returned to China with the assistance of (the) Chinese Embassy to Vietnam,” China’s Foreign Ministry said today in a statement. The staff members, from the China 19th Metallurgical Corporation (MCC19), arrived at the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

Those evacuated early today included 16 critically hurt Chinese nationals, according to state-run Xinhua news agency. The Chinese government is arranging for chartered plane and vessel to take back others wanting to leave following the violence that spread to 22 of Vietnam’s 63 provinces in the last week. Beijing has also advised its nationals against travelling to Vietnam. 

China says two of its nationals were killed in the violence and more than 100 others injured while the official death toll has been put at 21. An iron and steel complex in Ha Tinh Province of Vietnam, invested by Taipei-based Formosa Plastics Group, was badly hit in the riots.  China and Vietnam are locked in a duel after Beijing deployed an oil rig off the disputed waters in South China Sea on 1 May. The naval vessels of both the countries have rammed into each other hundreds of times since then. The dispute is part of a wider row between China and a number of south-east Asian countries including Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. 
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