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60,000 workers lose jobs after anti-China riots in Vietnam

HANOI - Vietnam's labor market was severely affected by its recent anti-China riots, which left 60,000 local workers jobless as many foreign-invested factories were forced to shut down for an indefinite date, local media reported Tuesday.

Vietnam's manufacturing hub, Binh Duong province, was among the worst-hit areas since the riots broke out earlier this month. More than 100 factories, most of whom belong to Chinese investors, were damaged to some extent.

Worse still, 12 factories were completely burnt down and 10 others partly destroyed, the online newspaper VNExpress reported on Tuesday, citing Bui Huu Phong, director of the provincial department of the Social Insurance Agency.

About 40,000 unemployed workers would get subsidies, while 20,000 others would receive a one-off compensation payment, Phong said.

Many foreign investors, mostly Chinese, said they would think twice about investing in Vietnam after the riots.

"I can only speak in a low voice. We called police, but it seemed they won't come very soon," Wen Yong, a Chinese businessman in Vietnam's southern Binh Duong province, told Xinhua last week as he recalled the horror on May 13 when the anti-foreign riot started.

Like Wen, who owns the Yong Hao Shoe Company in Vietnam's southern Binh Duong province, many Chinese investors were severely affected by the riot.

The riots in central and southern Vietnam have tarnished the country's image as a "safe investment environment".

During the riots in central and southern Vietnam, Chinese companies including those from China's mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong, suffered the most.

Reporters learned that on May 13 alone, at least 19 companies from those three areas were burned down, including 15 in Binh Duong.

In addition, 10 companies from Japan, 55 from South Korea and some Singaporean companies were also damaged and forced to close.

Preliminary estimates show the direct losses of Taiwan-funded enterprises in Binh Duong and its neighboring provinces reached hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars, rising to billions if indirect losses are counted.

The riots in central and southern Vietnam also have affected the country's economic situation.

Several sand and gravel plants along the road from Ha Tinh to Nghe An province were still shut, shops were closed and there were few cars.

Formosa Plastics has claimed 3 million dollars in compensation for property damage.

Other Taiwanese-funded enterprises in Binh Duong and other neighboring provinces also have claimed damages worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and 1 billion dollars if indirect damages are included.

Compensation claims from other countries and regions would be a colossal burden for Vietnam.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang on Monday urged Vietnamese authorities to immediately conduct a thorough investigation into the riots, severely punish the criminals in accordance with law, and compensate the affected people and companies for their losses.

--nobody.

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