January 19 of this year marks 49 years since China blatantly invaded Vietnam’s Paracels (Hoang Sa). Seventy four Republic of Vietnam Navy officers and soldiers heroically sacrificed their life to protect their country’s sovereignty.
Despite China’s increasingly aggressive and violent actions in the South China Sea, including the 1988 invasion of Johnson South Reef, in the Spratlys (Truong Sa) that resulted in the deaths of sixty four soldiers of the Vietnamese People’s Army defending the island, and the promulgation of the Coast Guard Law in 2021, which legalizes the use of force by the Chinese Navy against foreign ships in disputed waters, the Communist Party of Vietnam has failed to sufficiently assert Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Paracels and Spratlys or protect Vietnamese fishermen.
Moreover, Vietnamese citizens who openly criticize and protest against China’s aggression are suppressed and imprisoned. China is counting on the weak opposition from the Vietnamese government and the passage of time to make the world forget its unlawful use of force to invade the Paracels.
As we approach the 50th anniversary of China’s forcible occupation of the Paracels, Viet Tan calls for the following specific actions:
- Strongly condemn China’s aggression and demand that the Vietnamese government fulfill its responsibility to protect Vietnam’s sovereignty, economic interests and the lives of its fishermen. This includes releasing Vietnamese citizens who have been imprisoned for speaking out against China’s aggression and allowing public activities to honor the sacrifices of soldiers in the two battles of Hoang Sa and Truong Sa, or to protest against China’s violent and unlawful acts.
- Demand that the Vietnamese government 1) strongly condemn Beijing’s illegal acts of violating Vietnam’s sovereignty and unprovoked attacks on fishermen at the United Nations and 2) file a lawsuit against China at the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration to determine sovereignty of the South China Sea.
- Demand that the Vietnamese government collaborate with democratic countries in the region to create a united front in order to prevent China’s expansion, protect peace and defend the livelihoods of Vietnamese fishermen. In the event that China causes harm to fishermen, the Vietnamese government must demand that the Chinese government provide adequate compensation.
China is currently perceived as a threat to global security and order by democratic countries. With the 50th anniversary of its occupation of the Paracels approaching, it is crucial that we remind the world of China’s use of force to occupy the Paracels.
Viet Tan is committed to its responsibility of protecting Vietnam’s sovereignty and the Vietnamese people.