BEIJING - China has evacuated more than 3,000 of its nationals from Vietnam following a wave of deadly anti-Beijing unrest, state media said Sunday, as Vietnamese civil society groups called for renewed demonstrations in several cities.
The Xinhua news agency said the evacuees included 16 nationals who were "critically injured" in the worst anti-China violence in Vietnam in decades triggered by Beijing's deployment of an oil rig in contested South China Sea waters.
They were pulled out on a chartered medical flight and China was dispatching five ships to Vietnam to pluck more nationals to safety, after an alliance of 20 vocal Vietnamese NGOs called for fresh protests Sunday in the capital Hanoi, the southern economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City, and other areas against China's "aggressive actions" in the South China Sea.
But Vietnamese authorities, which have occasionally allowed protests to vent anger at the country's giant neighbour, warned they would "resolutely" prevent any further outbursts.
China's positioning of an oil rig in waters also claimed by Vietnam has ignited long-simmering enmity between the two communist neighbours, which have fought territorial skirmishes in past decades.
Worker demonstrations spread to 22 of Vietnam's 63 provinces in the last week, according to the Vietnamese government, with enraged mobs torching foreign-owned factories. The violence left at least two Chinese workers dead and more than 100 injured.
More than 3,000 Chinese nationals had been evacuated from Vietnam as of Saturday afternoon, Xinhua reported early Sunday.
"They returned to China with the assistance of (the) Chinese Embassy to Vietnam," it said, citing China's foreign ministry.
Beijing has also advised its nationals against travelling to Vietnam.