BEIJING - Almost 1,000 Chinese citizens were evacuated from riot-hit Vietnam by sea on Monday, with another three ships following, as Hanoi stifled fresh protests over a territorial dispute and foreign investors counted the cost.
The passenger ship Wuzhishan left the central Vietnamese port of Vung Ang with 989 evacuees on board, China's official news agency Xinhua reported.
It was the first of four Chinese ships, each with a capacity of about 1,000 people, sent to Vietnam, Xinhua said, with another two on standby.
Relations between the communist neighbours have plummeted following Beijing's move earlier this month to send a deep-water drilling rig into contested waters in the South China Sea.
Two Chinese nationals were killed and about 140 injured when enraged mobs torched or otherwise damaged hundreds of foreign-owned businesses in Vietnam last week.
More than 3,000 Chinese have already returned home from Vietnam by sea and air, reports said at the weekend.