Depite the Vietnamese government reportedly arresting hundreds of rioters, there is reason for people to question how the demonstrations could turn into such a deadly rampage against foreigners and their businesses in Vietnam, and why the relevant local governments failed to prevent the protests from turning fatal.
It may be understandable if a couple of extremists among the demonstrators committed acts of vandalism during the protests. But it is outrageous that the protests turned into violent onslaughts on our innocent compatriots, who are there helping Vietnam thrive.
More than a dozen people, most of them Chinese, are reportedly missing or killed. Reuters reports many more were injured, and their investment facilities in Vietnam burned and destroyed.
The lethal riots are proof that China's calls for dialogue over the two countries' conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea have fallen on deaf ears in Vietnam. That our restraint has been replied with such bloody violence is intolerable.
At home, our government has tried hard to put aside the unpleasant past episodes in bilateral ties, and tried not to fuel the disputes with Vietnam, in the hope that they can be resolved in a peaceful, even friendly, manner. However, the deadly riots have severely dampened that innocent hope.
It seems as if the Vietnamese authorities and the local governments had not prepared for the possibility of demonstrations getting out of control, and this begs the question of whether the local authorities acquiesced in the escalation into violent crimes.
While the perpetrators of these acts of violence should be brought to justice in a timely and decisive manner, the Vietnamese authorities should also shoulder full responsibility for whatever serious consequences the crimes have for relations with China, and for the degraded investment environment in Vietnam.
People from all corners of the world should condemn Vietnam for such violent crimes against innocent investors and other civilians.
If the violence continues to escalate, it will only cause even more damage to the reputation of Vietnam as a destination for foreign investment. It will only add to the distrust and enmity between the Vietnamese and Chinese peoples. Which will in turn threaten the regional uncertainty and instability.
We will see what the Vietnamese authorities will do to end the violence, punish the criminals and make amends for the damage the riots have done.