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Ethnic Vietnamese locals call for restraint among protesters

TAIPEI--Ethnic Vietnamese residents and citizens of Taiwan Wednesday voiced their concern for Taiwanese businesspeople caught up in the anti-China protests sweeping southern Vietnam, calling on friends and relatives in the country to show restraint.

Chen Lin-feng (Stella Chen), a radio host in Taiwan who moved from Vietnam 14 years ago when she married a Taiwanese man, said that she planned to call for rationality and calm on her program on LifeRadio, which is broadcast in both countries.

Chen cited her brother in Vietnam, who said that even after thousands of Vietnamese protesters took to the streets in Binh Duong Province to target Chinese — and some Taiwanese — factories and workers, the situation remains largely safe because most people can tell Taiwanese nationals from Chinese nationals because of the way they present themselves.

The protest follows China's deployment of an oil rig in disputed waters claimed by Vietnam in the South China Sea amid a tense standoff by ships from both countries.

Taiwanese-Vietnamese Actress Nguyen Thanh Dao, better known in Taiwan as Hai Lun Ching Tao, posted a message on her Facebook expressing sorrow over the unrest.

Nguyen, best known in Taiwan for the film “My Little Honeymoon,” grew up in Vietnam until age 14 and was named the most popular actress in the 2007 HTV Awards.

She called her childhood home a friendly country and advised Taiwanese businesspeople operating there to make it clear they are not from China.

She said she is still proud to be half Taiwanese and half Vietnamese.

Switching to the Vietnamese language, she wrote that Taiwan and China are two “different countries,” noting that some 400,000 people like her have parents from Taiwan and Vietnam, showing the close connection between the two.

Across Taiwan, Vietnamese expatriates and emigrants offered their sympathy to all people injured or otherwise attacked in the protests, noting that foreign investors have helped Vietnam's economy and urging everyone to learn to get along peacefully.

Taiwan's National Immigration Agency arranged calls for Vietnamese nationals in Taiwan to contact their families to gain a better understanding of the situation.

The agency condemned violent acts and urged the Vietnamese government to help end the situation in a way that does not affect relations with Taiwan.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, protesters have targeted stores and factories with Chinese-language signs regardless of the businesses' owners' countries of origin. A Taiwanese factory in Binh Duong was apparently destroyed, and two Taiwanese nationals have been injured, the ministry said.

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