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Vietnam makes Chinese tourists take off T-shirts with map of South China Sea claim

A photo of Chinese tourists wearing T-shirts depicting Beijing’s claims to the disputed South China Sea has sparked online anger in Vietnam, prompting calls for the visitors to be deported. (Photo courtesy: AFP)
A photo of Chinese tourists wearing T-shirts depicting Beijing’s claims to the disputed South China Sea has sparked online anger in Vietnam, prompting calls for the visitors to be deported. (Photo courtesy: AFP)

(TibetanReview.net, May17, 2018) – Offended by the cartographic invasion of their country, Vietnam has on May 13 night ordered a group of Chinese tourists to take off their T-shirts with a map depicting Beijing’s claims to the disputed South China Sea, before allowing them to leave the immigration desk, reported the AFP May 15.

The report said the T-shirts featured a map of China and its so-called nine-dash line – the sea boundary found on some 1940s-era maps which Beijing claims proves its claim to most of the waterway, despite partial claims from Vietnam and other nations.

The visitors were reported to have arrived in southern Cam Ranh airport and were stopped by security at the immigration desk. “We asked them to take the T-shirts off before allowing them to leave the airport,” an unnamed officer was quoted as saying.

The T-shirts were reported to have sparked online outrage in Vietnam, with some calling for the visitors to be deported.

Vietnam and China have long sparred over the resource-rich sea, where Beijing has built artificial islands and installed airstrips and military equipment, the report noted.

Earlier, in 2016, a Chinese passport featuring a map of Beijing’s sea claims was defaced by a border agent in Ho Chi Minh City’s airport with an unfriendly welcome note reading “F*** you”, the report recalled.

Border officials in Vietnam’s tourist hotspots Da Nang and Phu Quoc island were also stated to have refused to issue visa stamps on Chinese passports with map showing the nine-dash line as part of Chinese territory.

Tourism is a major source of income for Vietnam, with most of the visitors being from China. China has in the past imposed tourism sanction on countries whose policies it disagreed with.

In Da Nang a group of guides were reported to have petitioned authorities last year, complaining that unlicensed Chinese guides were leading tours with their own interpretation of history – and sea claims.

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