Vietnamese Border Region Residents Remove China's Electrified Fencing

The construction of a high-voltage border fence between China's Guangxi region and Vietnam creates ill-feeling.

Vietnamese Border Region Residents Remove China's Electrified Fencing

Residents of a region of Vietnam that borders the southwestern Chinese region of Guangxi have cut through a barbed wire fence recently constructed by the Chinese authorities along the 1,000-km (620-mile) border, RFA has learned.

Police from Vietnam's border defense department watched and shot video as local people removed sections of the border fence near the No. 57 border marker, according to a video of the incident uploaded to Chinese social media.

As the operation continued, a man shouted at them in Mandarin from the Chinese side of the border.

"I'm telling you again, stop doing this," the man shouts. "Your actions are in violation of the regulations."

"You aren't respecting the regulations [agreed by] both of our countries," he shouts.

A scholar from Guangxi's Dongxing city who gave only the surname Wu said the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had recently built the fence along the border to stop people crossing over without passing through official checkpoints.

He said it had an electrical current passing through it.

"The barbed wire they put there could electrocute animals and definitely people," Wu told RFA on Friday. "China doesn't want its people leaving the country; it seems that there has been a lot of sneaking across the border."

"People are desperate to leave given the worsening situation recently," he said.

"The fence with Vietnam is electrified, while they have buried landmines along the border with Myanmar," he said.

People on the Vietnamese side of the Sino-Vietnam border rally near the No. 57 border marker, Sept. 15, 2021. Credit: Citizen journalist vi RFA
Vietnam and Myanmar borders

Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bùi Thanh Sơn spoke on the phone with Lu Xinshe, CCP secretary of China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Sept. 14, the English-language Vietnam News reported.

Son thanked Guangxi for its gift of 800,000 doses of SinoPharm vaccine, medical equipment and supplies in support of Vietnam’s pandemic prevention and control efforts.

But he also called for increased information sharing and coordination in border areas and for "the construction of border gate infrastructure connectivity" to be accelerated, and for "upgrades" to border gates, so both sides could handle problems promptly, the paper reported, without giving specific details of the proposed upgrades.

China shares a 1,000-km (620-mile) border with Vietnam and a 2,000-km (1,240-mile)  border with northern Myanmar, and has been busy building barbed-wire fences complete with monitoring systems and spotlights along both borders.

A businessman familiar with the area who gave only the surname Zhang said Vietnamese opposition stems from the dangers posed by the fence to both human lives and those of wild animals.

"They are worried that anyone who comes into contact with the fence could be electrocuted, including wild animals," Zhang said. "This has caused a lot of dissatisfaction in Vietnam, which is why they are demolishing it."

He said the fences will disrupt the communal lives of ethnic groups with members on both sides of the border.

"There are a large number of ethnic groups living on both sides of the border in Vietnam and Guangxi, and in Yunnan and Myanmar," Zhang said. "So half of their population might live in Vietnam and the other half in China."

"They are used to walking across from one country to another through the fields for business, or to visit friends and relatives," he said. "They've been doing this for many years."

"Now that [China] has built an electrified border fence, it has shut off these family visits," he said.

Tight exit controls

He said many people living in the border region can't afford to go through an official checkpoint every time they want to seem their families.

"Chinese border residents have a blue ID book, and every time they enter or leave the country, this book gets stamped, and it costs money to apply for a new book when it gets full," Zhang said.

"It wouldn't matter if it was just a card."

He said the Chinese authorities aren't keen to allow anyone to leave China across the southwestern border now, while arrivals are under tight restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

RFA reported in August that China has stopped issuing new passports to its citizens and has imposed entry and exit controls on its population, citing the recent surge in the Delta variant of COVID-19, although commentators said Beijing is using the pandemic as a pretext to curb freedom of movement.

Chinese nationals living in mainland China have told RFA in recent months that the authorities have gradually stopped issuing new passports and exit visas -- a police-approved travel permit that adds another layer to a slew of hurdles Chinese nationals must clear in order to be allowed to leave.

The Chinese Entry and Exit Bureau recently confirmed publicly that the rules are in place, saying exit permits will only be issued for "essential" travel.

Some Chinese nationals living in the United States have also been stranded in China after they combined a trip home with plans to renew their soon-to-expire passports at the same time.

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

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Chinese Journalist, Rights Activist Incommunicado, Likely Detained, in Guangzhou

#MeToo activist and journalist Sophia Huang had been due to begin a degree at the University of Sussex after being awarded a Chevening Scholarship.

Chinese Journalist, Rights Activist Incommunicado, Likely Detained, in Guangzhou

Feminist journalist Sophia Huang and fellow activist Wang Jianbing are incommunicado, believed detained, ahead of Huang's planned departure to study overseas, the Chinese rights group Weiquanwang reported on Tuesday.

Huang had planned to leave China via Hong Kong on Sept. 20 for the U.K., where she planned to take a master's degree in development with a prestigious Chevening Scholarship, the Weiquanwang report said.

Wang, who is a labor and healthcare rights activist, had planned to see her off on her journey, it said.

"According to people familiar with the matter, Wang Jianbing may have been detained under investigation for incitement to subvert state power, mainly due to the daily gatherings of friends at his home," Weiquanwang said, adding that both activists had been incommunicado since Sept. 19.

Repeated calls and messages to Huang's cell phone went unanswered on Tuesday.

Sources told RFA the pair had likely been detained by police in their home district of Haizhu.

An officer who answered the phone at the Haizhu district police department in Guangzhou declined to confirm the report.

"Who? I've never heard of those people," the officer said. "If you believe they are being dealt with, then the relatives need to wait for notification."

"The case officers will only contact [the family]."

A person familiar with the case, who gave only the surname Gu, said there was no way to rescue Huang and Wang, who he said were detained alongside two other people, one of whom has since been released.

"The thing that triggered it was a protest video they made for private broadcast," Gu said, but said he hadn't seen the video himself.

Survey of harassment, assaults

Before being targeted by the authorities in 2019, Huang had been an outspoken member of the country's #MeToo movement, and had carried out a survey of sexual harassment and assault cases among Chinese women working in journalism.

Huang was present at a million-strong protest in Hong Kong on June 9, 2019 against plans to allow extradition to mainland China, and was detained for "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble" in October 2019, before being released on bail in January 2020, a status that often involves ongoing surveillance and restrictions on a person's activities.

Her travel documents were also confiscated after her return, preventing her from beginning a law degree in Hong Kong the fall of 2019.

Huang had previously assisted in the investigation and reporting of a number of high-profile sexual harassment allegations against professors at Peking University, Wuhan University of Technology, Henan University and Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou.

Wang started to work in rural development after graduating in 2005, before joining the Guangzhou Gongmin NGO in 2014 and director and coordinator for youth work.

In 2018, he started advocacy and legal support work on behalf of workers with occupational diseases, and was a vocal supporter of China's #MeToo movement.

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

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