Chinese tourists enter Vietnam in nine-dash line T-shirts

By Xuan Ngoc   May 15, 2018 | 12:53 am PT
Chinese tourists enter Vietnam in nine-dash line T-shirts
A group of Chinese nationals wear T-shirts containing the illegal nine-dash line while entering Cam Ranh International Airport in central province of Khanh Hoa. Photo by Vu Cha.
They were asked to take them off and give them to local police.

A group of Chinese tourists did not have a smooth entry in Vietnam on Sunday when police found them wearing T-shirts containing a Chinese map with the nine-dash line that violates Vietnam’s waters sovereignty.

Police at Cam Ranh International Airport in the central province of Khanh Hoa found 14 Chinese nationals wearing the controversial outfit on Sunday night. The line claims 90 percent of the 3.5-million-square-kilometer South China Sea as China's territory, which has been met with strong opposition from the international community. It overlaps with claims by Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines and violates Vietnam's sovereignty over the waterway, which it calls the East Sea.

The Chinese group was set to have a five-day tour in the coastal town Nha Trang, an hour north of the airport, with a local tour company. A source from the company said that after being noticed by the police, it asked the tourists to take off the T-shirts and gave them all to the officers.

The visitors said they bought the outfit at a market back home.

Tran Viet Trung, director of Khanh Hoa's tourism department, said it will look into the case and take further actions if necessary.

Nha Trang has become one of the country’s top holiday destinations among both local and foreign tourists, and helped draw 750,000 foreign travelers to Khanh Hoa during the first quarter this year, in which 465,200 are from China.

The number of Chinese tourists to Vietnam skyrocketed 40 percent to a massive 1.77 million the first four months this year, official data show.

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