Xi visit prompts more police violence

Tension is increasing in Hanoi on the eve of the visit by the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, with a significant increase in the number of attacks reported on activists and independent bloggers.

Activists say the police and their plainclothes auxiliaries are resorting to brute force to try to stamp out sporadic attempts to show opposition to the visit.

Democracy campaigners accuse the government of being too compliant towards their communist comrades in Beijing, and not doing enough to defend Vietnamese interests against the growing Chinese presence in the South China Sea.

A group organised to resist China’s territorial claims in the disputed Spratly and Paracel Islands was attacked by plainclothes agents while celebrating its fourth anniversary at a restaurant.

Attempts to protest the visit by the Chinese leader have provoked violent attacks

Attempts to protest against the visit by the Chinese leader have provoked violent attacks

Witnesses said the lights suddenly went out and a group of thugs rushed in, throwing beer bottles and chairs at the participants.

Plainclothes men also attacked a group of young people who held up placards with anti-China slogans at Dong Da Mount in Hanoi – the site of a historical defeat of Chinese forces in Vietnam.

Prominent bloggers, who played an important role in previous anti-China demonstrations, said they had been followed and watched round the clock.

One of them, the blogger Gio Lang Thang (Wandering Wind) was assaulted in front of his house when he was trying to leave for a seminar on law and justice.

He said that he recognised one of his attackers as a local police officer.

The activist and photographer, Nguyen Lan Thang, has also suffered further harassment following recent attacks by “the outraged masses” as the police describe civilian vigilantes who target government critics.

On October 24, he and his wife were forced to flee after being confronted by a violent mob at their daughter’s nursery.

Later the front door of their house was splashed with red paint, A visitor looking at the house's gate wet with red paint poured overnight.interpreted as a threat of blood and revenge.

Thang continued to post defiant message on Facebook, however, insisting that he was intent on pursuing non violent resistance to injustice.

The couple then found that all their online accounts had been hacked, including his email, facebook page, and iPad account.

Government supporters known as the “Du Luan Vien”, who are hired to fight back against activists on social media, sent a message from his hacked account urging him to apologise.

They said if he wrapped himself in the national flag, sang the national anthem and filmed it on his web page they would return the password.

Thang refused and left home to seek refuge in a secret shelter.

At the same time, Ly Quang Son, 23, a student activist, said he was attacked on October 24 by a plainclothes man with a sword.

He said he was struck on the head and arms and warned that the Communist Party was out to punish those who stood against the state.

Son said his motorcycle helmet protected him and he managed to get away, but had suffered cuts on his arms and fingers.

Son said he recognized the man as a relative of his landlord who worked as a policeman.

He also left home for a safe house.