In the late 2000s, conflict between Vietnam and China over the Spratly and Paracel Islands ignited many street protests in Vietnam. Vietnamese citizens called for aggressive national defense, and engaged in sniping and trolling on the Internet. Even though historical anti-China sentiment in Vietnam has been explored in academic scholarship, no work has yet examined the contemporary anti-China movement in terms of cultural derision, stereotypic labeling, and even small-scale clashes. Moreover, very limited literature has scrutinized the situation through a bottom-up approach that focuses on the roles of unofficial media, social networks, and other factors beyond the state, and how they perpetuate and amplify Vietnamese nationalism and Sinophobia. Based on my two-month fieldwork and archival research with Dr. Alfred Montoya in Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang, this paper examines how unofficial media and the interests of young Vietnamese citizens in the globalized economy perpetuate and inflame anti-Chinese sentiment. We challenge the oversimplification that the Vietnamese Communist Party is the only provocative force which manipulates "its people" against China through historical accounts and political propaganda. Instead, this complex situation involves multiple social actors that engender a surge of anxiety about the Chinese, leading to social tension and consequences in contemporary Vietnam.
Nguyen, Nhi Hoang Thuc, "Anti-Chinese Sentiment in Contemporary Vietnam: Constructing Nationalism, New Democracy, and the Use of “the Other”" (2017). Undergraduate Student Research Awards. 40.