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Vietnam detains anti-China demonstrators

ADD NAME OF ONE OF THE PROTESTERS WHO WAS ARRESTED - FILE - In this Sunday, July 1, 2012 file photo, about 200 protesters march through the capital’s streets, in Hanoi Vietnam, following China's recent announcement that it will open nine oil and gas lots to international bidders, even though the area overlaps with Vietnam’s current foreign exploration contracts. Witnesses and a rights group said Vietnam has detained demonstrators who were protesting recent actions by China concerning the South China Sea, including Le Hien Duc, 81, center, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012. ADD NAME OF ONE OF THE PROTESTERS WHO WAS ARRESTED - FILE - In this Sunday, July 1, 2012 file photo, about 200 protesters march through the capital’s streets, in Hanoi Vietnam, following China's recent announcement that it will open nine oil and gas lots to international bidders, even though the area overlaps with Vietnam’s current foreign exploration contracts. Witnesses and a rights group said Vietnam has detained demonstrators who were protesting recent actions by China concerning the South China Sea, including Le Hien Duc, 81, center, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Margie Mason)
August 5, 2012
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HANOI, Vietnam—Vietnam detained more than 30 protesters on Sunday who expressed their anger over China's recent actions in the South China Sea, a participant said.

Human Rights Watch said four bloggers along with anti-corruption activist Le Hien Duc, 81, were among those detained in Hanoi.

Duc told The Associated Press she was taken from her wheelchair, put in a car and driven to a police station where she was held for over two hours and instructed not to join rallies because she is too old. Police later returned her wheelchair to her house, she said.

After being released, she went to Loc Ha rehabilitation center -- generally reserved for drug addicts and prostitutes -- to wait for news about more than 30 other protesters who were detained there, she said.

"I participated in the protest to show the Vietnamese people's patriotism and that we should not allow China to invade Vietnam," the former elementary school teacher said.

Vietnam, China and other Asian nations have competing territorial claims in the potentially resource-rich South China Sea, which is home to vital shipping lanes.

In July, China created a new city and garrison on a remote island to administer its claim over hundreds of thousands of square miles (kilometers) of water in the sea, sparking criticism from Vietnam, the U.S. and the Philippines. Some fear the escalating sea spats are a potential flashpoint for violence.

Vietnam's Communist government does not tolerate challenges to its authority, but has sometimes allowed anti-China protests in the capital. It has blocked protests at other times when it apparently has wanted to repair ties with Beijing.

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