The woman was identified as Le Thi Tuyet Mai, 67, residing on Bui Dinh Tuy Street in Ward 24, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City, according to Le Truong Hai Hieu – deputy chairman of the People’s Committee of HCMC’s District 1.

Hieu added that the woman killed herself for feeling angry at the China’s illegitimate placement of its drilling rig in the Vietnamese waters.

Before killing herself, she placed six handwritten slogans with phrases to protest China.

Thanh Nien newspaper quoted the contents of the slogan, including, “Let’s unite to smash the plot of invasion of China”, “Support to Marine Police Force and fishermen of Vietnam”, “China demanded to withdraw from Vietnamese sea waters”, “Return sea and islands to Vietnam”, “Let’s light up the way for patriots”, and “The Trưng Sisters stood up to fight enemy in the old days”.

The Trưng sisters, living in the first century, were Vietnamese military leaders who rebelled against Chinese rule, and are regarded as national heroines of Vietnam.

However, Hieu also attributed that she burnt herself to death because of other reasons as disease and 'reaching an impasse in her personal life,' as quoted by Thanh Nien.

Witnesses

At the scene, police collected an empty five-liter can, a lighter, and six handwritten slogans with the above contents.

Many passers-by on Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street at the gate of the Reunification Palace witnessed the woman pouring petrol on her body and striking a light. But they said they couldn’t have time to react.

Seeing a flame flaring up, guards of the Palace brought fire extinguishers to the site and stamped it out after three minutes.

But the woman died at the scene.

Tran Le Truong, 45, son of the victim, said his mother looked depressed but psychologically normal in the past days and often turned on television to watch the news about China’s encroachment by placing Haiyang Shiyou 981 in the Vietnamese sea waters.

He said that his mother left their house at 5:30am on Friday and told him that she is going to visit a pagoda.

She brought with her a five-liter container and she said water inside, he recalled.

She picked a Mai Linh taxi to the Reunification Palace. Before leaving the taxi, she asked driver named Nguyen Van Thinh to return her sunglasses and her mobile phone to her son at her home.

Feeling abnormal, her son asked the driver to take him to the location and the incident happened.

Tuoi Tre - May 23, 2014