Beijing: China today accused Vietnam of acting in connivance with the rioters, who reportedly killed at least 20 Chinese nationals during protests against the deployment of a Chinese oil rig to drill in disputed waters.
"We are following these reports closely. Deeply shocked by these reports and express our serious concerns," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here.
Tensions flared up between China and Vietnam over attempts by a Chinese oil rig to drill in the disputed waters in South China Sea?from May 1, following which naval vessels from both the countries rammed into each other hundreds of times besides using water cannons at each other.
Meanwhile, anti-China protests broke out in Vietnam in which angry mobs attacked and burnt Chinese factories.
While some reports said 20 Chinese were killed and 55 others injured, China`s state-run Xinhua news agency reported that 10 Chinese were "unaccounted for" after rioters attacked Chinese companies in Vietnam`s central Ha Tinh Province.
However, local media has reported only one Chinese was killed.
Hua directly blamed the Vietnamese government for the violence saying it connived with rioters.
"We must point out that trashing, looting and burning activities against Chinese companies in Vietnam have everything to do with Vietnamese connivance with anti-China forces and lawbreakers," she said.
"The facts are clear that Vietnam`s attempt to rope in others to put pressure on China will not achieve its goal. We hope Vietnam can have a clear picture in mind, calmly face the reality and stop disrupting China`s operations," Hua said.
China has made a solemn representation to the Vietnamese government to take responsibility, make a thorough investigation and seriously punish these lawbreakers and pay compensation to Chinese people, she said.
She said that besides Chinese firms, companies from Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea were also attacked.
"This fully shows how grave the situation is. We once again urge the Vietnamese side to take all necessary and effective measures to ensure safety of all foreign people in Vietnam, including Chinese and their companies, and ensure decent working environment for foreign companies operating in Vietnam," she said.
"The protests were held throughout Wednesday," a manager in Ha Tinh, some 300 km south of Hanoi, said, adding the rioters attacked four Chinese companies constructing an iron and steel complex invested by Taiwan.
"They broke into our offices, wrecking and looting the properties, and burned our dormitory building before leaving," he told Xinhua.