Diễn đàn Paltalk TiengNoi TuDo Cua NguoiDan VietNam

May 2, 2008

Vietnam readies for Olympic torch relay, security tight

Filed under: Chính trị, xã hội, Hoàng Sa Trường Sa, Olympic 2008 — tudo @ 11:26 am

Chinese men display Olympic and Chinese flags as they wait for the arrival of the Beijing Olympic torch at Ho Chi Minh city's Tan Son Nhat airport. Police in Vietnam prevented major anti-Chinese rallies Tuesday with what activists said were scores of detentions ahead of the Ho Chi Minh City leg of the troubled Olympic torch relay.(AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam)

AFP Photo: Chinese men display Olympic and Chinese flags as they wait for the arrival of the…

by Aude Genet Mon Apr 28, 9:26 PM ET

HO CHI MINH CITY (AFP) – Vietnam‘s largest city on Tuesday readied for its leg of the troubled Olympic torch relay, eager to ensure a smooth event as some activists announced peaceful anti-Chinese protests.

The Beijing Olympic flame arrived in Ho Chi Minh City late Monday from North Korea, ahead of the relay that was set to start under tight security at 6:30 pm (1130 GMT), 101 days before the start of the Games.

Some 60 runners will carry the torch from the downtown Opera House along a secret route 10 to 13 kilometres (six to eight miles) long to the Military Zone 7 Competition Hall stadium near the international airport, officials said.

The former Saigon is home to Vietnam’s largest ethnic Chinese community.

Security was expected to be tight, but city officials did not announce how many police would be deployed and remained tight-lipped about other details following the detentions last week of several anti-China activists.

Pro-Tibet rallies have dogged the relay in cities including London, Paris and Canberra, but Vietnam’s mostly young and nationalist activists are driven by the country’s own long-simmering dispute with its northern neighbour.

Both Beijing and Hanoi are among claimants to the Spratly and Paracel island chains in the South China Sea, in a dispute that late last year triggered a series of street rallies rarely seen in Vietnam, a one-party state.

The communist leaders of Vietnam and China routinely stress their comradely ties, and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung last week promised China’s visiting Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi to stage a trouble-free torch relay.

The premier warned that “hostile forces” would seek to disrupt the event, using a standard term from the communist lexicon for pro-democracy activists.

Vietnamese police have questioned and detained some activists and Friday expelled Vietnamese-American chemical engineer Vuong Hoang Minh, who was caught with T-shirts bearing slogans including “A Gold Medal for Oppression.”

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders on Wednesday called on Vietnam to free blogger Nguyen Hoang Hai, a member of the online Union of Independent Journalists, who Vietnamese state media said was detained for tax evasion.

The small but vocal Vietnamese political activist community, based both inside the country and overseas, has made no secret of its plans to stage non-violent rallies in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

Taiwan-based architecture student Le Trung Thanh, who uses the weblog name “Blacky,” wrote an open letter to Dung last week, announcing plans for a protest and asking for police “to ensure order and the safety of protesters.”

“If we keep silent, it means we agree to lose Hoang Sa and Truong Sa” he wrote, using the respective Vietnamese names for the Paracels and Spratlys, rocky island chains that have stirred strong passions in Vietnam.

Hundreds of youths took to the streets outside Chinese diplomatic missions here in December, in small protests that Vietnam briefly tolerated before deploying thousands of riot police in coming weeks to prevent repeat rallies.

Vietnam was ruled as a southern vassal state by China for about a millennium and was then repeatedly invaded by successive dynasties.

Most Vietnamese folk heroes are leaders who fought back northern invaders.

China and Vietnam fought their last border war in 1979, but the leaders in Hanoi and Beijing, two of the world’s five remaining communist governments, have since normalised relations and become strong economic partners.

afp1 afp2 afp3

Vietnam readies for Olympic torch relay, security tight

Vietnamese police officers patrol around the Opera House in ...
Tue Apr 29, 1:14 AM E
Vietnamese police officers patrol around the Opera House in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Tuesday, April 29, 2008. The 2008 Beijing Olympics torch relay in Vietnam will start from the Opera House Tuesday evening.

(AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)


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