Vietnam says handling of ethnic unrest not violent
Foreign media reports that Vietnamese authorities used violence to disperse a gathering of thousands of Hmong ethnic minorities are "erroneous", the state-run Vietnam News Agency said today.
The story published in the news agency known as VNA was also posted on the government's website today.
"In recent days, several foreign news agencies and media organisations have continuously reported wrong news on what happened during the so-called 'unrest' of the Hmong ethnic group," the report said.
Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said a May 17 Human Rights Watch statement calling for the government to conduct a full and transparent investigation into what the organisation said was a "crackdown" on Hmong Christians is unreliable. The ministry's statement was sent to Bloomberg News yesterday in response to a request for comment on the rights group's call.
"The current situation at Muong Nhe is stable," said Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga in the statement. "Elements who caused disorder will be dealt with in accordance with Vietnamese law." Muong Nhe is a district in Dien Bien province.
Vietnam arrested an unspecified number of individuals it said were "extremists" who had called on ethnic minorities to gather in early May to agitate for a Hmong kingdom, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga said on May 12.
The US Embassy in Vietnam made enquiries with Vietnamese government officials about reports of violence in Dien Bien province where the unrest took place, an embassy spokesman said May 6.
Bloomberg - May 21, 2011