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Eight more held over economic zone law protests


HANOI: Vietnamese police have arrested eight more people after protests a week ago over a proposed law on special economic zones that protesters fear would fall in the hands of Chinese investors, state media reported.

The men from south central province of Binh Thuan were accused of disturbing public order, opposing officials and damaging state property, state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper reported yesterday.

Protests against the law took place across the country, including in the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City where seven people were arrested for allegedly disturbing security and opposing officials.

Protesters fear the three proposed special economic zones where land could be rented for up to 99 years would be dominated by investors from China.

Lawmakers have postponed the passage of the law until the next session in October to allow more research.

Vietnam is among the most outspoken critics of Chinese construction and militarisation of artificial islands in the Spratly island chain in the South China Sea’s disputed waters. — AP

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