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Vietnamese workers in Taiwan urge compatriot protesters to show restraint

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Several Vietnamese workers in Taiwan voiced concern Saturday over the violent anti-China protests in their home country and called on their compatriots there to exercise restraint.

During a break at a Mandarin speech contest for foreign nationals, the Vietnamese workers told CNA that since the protests in Vietnam erupted earlier this week, they have been trying to tell their friends via Facebook that Taiwan is different from China and that patriotism should not adopt violence but rather wisdom.

Vietnamese protesters vandalized and set fire to scores of factories in the southern province of Binh Duong in protest against a Chinese oil-drilling venture in an area of the South China Sea that Hanoi regards as its exclusive economic zone.

“I really don't know what else I can do,” said Le Thi-phuong, a 32-year-old domestic caregiver who has been working in Taipei for 10 years.

“I feel terrible and very sad because Taiwanese people are all very friendly and nice,” Le said, adding that she feels sorry for the Taiwanese business people in Vietnam who have suffered losses.

One of Le's friends, Ng Thi-hoa, who also works as a caregiver in Taiwan, also said that she was deeply saddened by the incident.

“Vietnam has finally seen some peace and prosperity for a while, but now the riot is scaring all foreign investment away,” Ng said, adding that she has not been sleeping well since the rioting started.

The Vietnamese workers said they have been closely following the latest developments in their home country and hope their government will take immediate steps to restore order. They also said they hope the incident will not affect the good ties between Taiwan and Vietnam.

There are currently over 489,000 foreign workers in Taiwan, 25.6 percent of whom are from Vietnam, the second-largest source of migrant workers in Taiwan, according to official statistics.

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