Why did the Vietnamese traditionally view China as a threat? Do they still?

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Why did the Vietnamese traditionally view China as a threat? Do they still?

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It is must be stressed that: Vienamese do not fear Chinese (we fought with them 4000 years), BUT we need peace and they are threaten to the peace.

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Because of colonialism

Vietnam was originally a country that split from China. After they gained independence, they never regarded China as a threat, but instead regarded China as a protector. ancient China every military intervention in Vietnam was invited by the Vietnamese themselves.

After France colonized Vietnam, the culture, language, and system of Vietnam were changed. They began to see China as a threat and wrote a new Latin history. Vietnamese who had received colonial education defined China as an invader.

I think this issue is raised by the Indians, who are as deeply influenced by colonialism as Vietnam. There was no exchange between China and India in ancient times, and there was no war. The strange thing is that after they accepted British colonial rule, they regarded China as a threat and always invaded China. Recently they have helped the United States provoke border conflicts.

But China never thought of invading them, and they didn't have anything China wanted, and even they couldn't get any benefits from anti-China policies. The only thing that can be obtained is praise from the West.

As a Chinese, it is difficult to understand such distorted colonialism.

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Because they are painfully aware of China’s history, plus they understand very well how a communist party operates. Vietnam continues to see China encroaching into their territorial waters as well as that of their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

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In simplest terms, Vietnam has traditionally viewed China as a threat because they were. This in spite of the fact Chinese migrated into the northern part of Vietnam (Tonkin) at least starting several hundred years ago. China attempted invasion of Tonkin twice, about 100 years apart, via the sea, and were repulsed twice in exactly the same fashion (visit the History Museum in Hanoi and examine 2 very nice dioramas). This is also why every town in Vietnam has a street named after the two Trung sisters (Hai Ba Trung). Even though the current regime, for political reasons, has generally aligned itself with Beijing, there is the ongoing dispute over the Spratley Islands (or whatever you prefer to call them…), and the attempt by China in 1979 to punish Vietnam for its “interference” in the affairs of Cambodia, another state aligned with Beijing. The way I’ve sometimes had it explained to me is, the regime in Hanoi views Beijing as their “older brother”, meaning, we respect you, and to some degree fear you, but will also let you make the mistakes first so we don’t.

Looking at things from the other side, China has always understood itself to be the “Middle Kingdom”, culturally, politically and militarily, and even to this day views the countries on its periphery as vassal states — former or otherwise — Tibet being a good example. It has always been their right to extend their hegemony outwards.

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A2A

The “why” can be related my answer in here: Simon Meri's answer to Why does Vietnam seem to understand the way of Chinese sophistry? But in short, it is because China never hands off it’s intervention toward Vietnam, if it is not always about the land-invasion. And China intervenes the very nation-essence of Vietnam, attempting to make Vietnamese to consider themselves as a bunch of little-Chinese who are deviated from the righteousness path, same like the mainstream Chinese view on Cantonese, that “they are NOT enough Chinese”.

For some Chinese people, they would even consider the Vietnamese nation as already a damaged undone project , and thus, it is unworthy to try making the Vietnamese to become “little Chinese”, they are probably thinking that, the Vietnamese can go eat craps if they like. In other word, for if China doesn’t really hold Vietnam in it’s territory, it would still insist to pushes toward Vietnam/Vietnamese to consider themselves as “little China/Chinese”. You may wonder, in terms of culture, isn’t Vietnam really just a “little China”? This is simply another misconception which is impacted by China, and here is about the reason why , Vietnam isn’t a “little China” : Simon Meri's answer to Is Vietnam a Sinosphere (aka Chinese sphere of influence or East Asian cultural sphere) country?

Even the name “Viet Nam” was a result of Chinese intervention: Simon Meri's answer to Why didn't Emperor Jiaqing of China allow Vietnam to be named Nam Viet (Nanyue) and instead switched its name to Vietnam? And this name in itself is grammatically misleading, it generates a very typical misconception about Vietnam, which is this one : Simon Meri's answer to Does "Vietnam" literally means "South of China"?

How much more of the Chinese/China’s intervention should Vietnamese digest ? Answer needs to be no more , and thus, China needs to been seen as a threat, but for not only the traditional Vietnamese, for everybody as well, because of this: Simon Meri's answer to China: What are some mind blowing facts about China?

Do the Vietnamese still consider China as a threat? In terms of both land-invasion and ideological intervention? The State is allowing awareness on the threat of land-invasion, but it is seemingly letting in Chinese culture branding, the teenagers listens to mainland Chinese music a lot, in D1 of Saigon, I am constantly hearing teenagers saying “thanks” to their friends in mandarin, as a fashion like what happened to some Asian k-pop friends adopting Korean words for greetings. That is something to be worried about but the Chinese must be cheering it. In general, listening to mainland Chinese music isn’t a problem , but to the case of Vietnam, it is a issue with complex.

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They invaded us and have always wanted it, even now. We strongly believe they’re the biggest threat to freedom. I mean we had clashes in terms of both the economy and land in recent years and it never ends. Their regime is abusive (more abusive) so we don’t want to live under that in case they invade.

Moreover, they’re so close to us and they have ballistic missiles, nuclear stuff that we don’t have. I’m not saying that the Chinese people are all bad, there’re good and bad people anywhere on earth. I’m saying that they are the biggest threat to freedom in case they invade any countries.

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Question: Why did the Vietnamese traditionally view China as a threat? Do they still?

Answer: Yes, I should admit that the Vietnamese still views China as its traditional threat for some reasons as follows:

Firstly , Some said that The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there and I agree with this view. However, the past will impact or shape our current view in one way or another way just as our experiences. So, It is not weird that Vietnam traditionally views China as a threat because China has invaded Vietnam over ten times with a thousand of years of being occupied by China since the ancient period of Vietnam.

According to the myth story of the Heavenly King of Phù Đổng, the First Chinese invasion war of Vietnam happened in the 6th Hung Kings of the Hong Bang Dynasty against the Chinese Shang Dynasty.

In the 6th generation of King Hùng, there was a rich man in Phù Đổng village, Vũ Ninh division, who gave birth to a son. The child was three years old but couldn’t talk or laugh. At the time, there was an emergency in the country, the king ordered to find someone who can defeat the enemy. That day, the child suddenly spoke, told his mother to invite the emissary in, and said: “ I want a sword and a horse, the king doesn’t need to worry ” The little child rode his horse in the front, the soldiers followed behind. They defeated the enemy at Vũ Ninh mountain. The enemy called the child general from heaven and came to surrender. The child rode his horse into the sky and went away. The king ordered to renovate his house into a temple and worshiped him

According to the classic history of Vietnam, the resistance war of Vietnam against the Chinese Qin invasion forces under the Thuc Dynasty 258–180 BC could be seen as the first clash between two nations.

During the entire history of Vietnam to today, the Vietnamese have failed to defend their country four times before the Chinese Empire which led to the four periods of being under Chinese brutal rule.

In 180 BC , The Chinese Nanyue state invaded the second Vietnamese ancient state - Au Lac and marked the first Chinese domination of Vietnam 180BC-40AD

In 43AD , The Chinese Han Dynasty invaded Vietnam again and defeated the Trung sister’s rulers of Vietnam, also marked the second era of the Chinese domination 43–544AD

In 602 AD , The Chinese Sui Dynasty invaded the Vietnamese third state - Van Xuan, and started the third era of the Chinese domination 602–938AD

In 1407 , the Chinese Ming dynasty invaded Vietnam and opened the last and fourth era of the Chinese domination of Vietnam 1407–1428.

Countless Chinese invasion wars and conflicts , together with the brutal Chinese rule against Vietnam has shaped the Vietnamese view about their Nothern Neighbors - China for centuries which explains partly why Vietnam today still view China as its threat or has an unfavorable view of China.

Secondly , As all you know that the third Indochina wars between Vietnam and the coalition of China - the Cambodian Khmer Rouge have caused damage much to Vietnam because it happened from 1975–1991 just after the end of another long war - the Vietnam war. China together with the Khmer Rouge intended to invade Vietnam and both caused countless atrocities against the Vietnamese civilians such as:

Ba Chuc massacre against the Vietnamese civilians committed by the China-backed Khmer Rouge in 1978.

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Tong Chup massacre against the Vietnamese civilians committed by China in 1979

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For most of the Vietnamese at that time, China was not different much from the Khmer Rouge, all of the places where the Chinese PLA and the Khmer Rouge have gone through and left killings, destructions and pain. So, for many people, the horrible crime of the Chinese PLA and Communist China could not be erased or faded away which also remind Vietnam of other painful historical page relating to the Chinese crime during the fourth Chinese domination of Vietnam 1407–1428 and also the Chinese Qing Short occupation of Northern Vietnam in 1789.

Thirdly , The Chinese claim on the South China Sea is threatening the national integrity of the Vietnamese nation and also the future of Vietnam which prevents any possible chance for Vietnam to stop thinking of China as its threat.

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Also, every year, China has often caused tensions on the South China Sea with Vietnam through systematic strategies such as attacking Vietnamese fisher boats, sinking the Vietnamese vessels, preventing normal maritime activities of Vietnam, even other countries in South China which cause the risk of geo-politics and confrontation if a party make mistakes

In conclusion: For What I have said above, I think that Vietnam still views China as its threat. However, Vietnam will try to pursue peace and restrain its actions to avoid escalating the tension in the region, especially with China, also co-operation with China in the concerned fields, and hope that China should restrain its greed ad respect the international laws.

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The biggest test is to look at the shape of the country. What factors enabled the Vietnamese to expand from the Red river valley all the way to the Ca Mau peninsula? It sure ain’t because you have an enemy in your backyard.

People keep going back to the Ming dynasty of China, however, you only need to look at the Nguyen dynasty of Vietnam to see how close the relationship is between Qing and Vietnam. Harping back to Ming, especially during the Yongle era, fails to take into account the subsequent cordial relations between the Ming and the Lê dynasty that enabled the conquest of Champa in the south, raiding into the Mekong delta, capturing of Luang Prabang from the Laotian, as well as incursions into the Irrawaddy valley. So back to the Nguyen dynasty:

The Nguyen dynasty accepted a name change to the country from the proposed Nam Viet to Vietnam

Chinese Investiture for the Kings of the Nguyen dynasty were reinstated

Adoption of the Chinese imperial administration, exams and many other cultural practices that contributed to what the Vietnamese practise today

Formal Vietnamese dressing is strongly influenced by the Qing, and then by the French.

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When you’re a nation, ANY major power on your border is a threat. I don’t care how friendly they are(and of course, China is far from friendly). China is a threat to every country in SE Asia. The US is a threat to Cuba, Canada and Mexico. Russia is a threat to Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Geopolitics is about what larger nations CAN do, not what you think they WILL do.

China has invaded Vietnam 19 times in history and successfully occupied them 4 times, with the two most recent attempts both being in the late 20th century.

Yes, they still do. They wouldn’t be reaching out for ties with their old rival, the US, if they didn’t feel the self-anointed “Central Nation” was a threat.

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From the view of a Vietnamese who was born and grow up in Vietnam up to now, I think Vietnamese traditionally viewed China as a threat because of the wars and conflicts in the long history, let say in 2000 years or more.

And we still aware of them, of course. The war against the US lasted in 20 years, just a blink of an eye, as compared to 2000 years of tensions with China. It is not forgettable. It is understandable because even the US is also viewed China as a threat too.

It does not mean we close doors with China. We are trade partnership today, exchanging the benefits and forgive for any crime in the past to look forward. However, because of awareness of their expansionary and greedy ambition, there are some principles we follow to ensure our independence and reserve our sovereignty such as never cooperate in oil and gas industry, not equipping their weapons in our army, never allowing the foreigner's ownership on land, and some other strategies not able to disclose here,…

It is not easy to live next to the biggest neighbor, same as Cuba next to the US, Ukraine next to Russia, especially that neighbor is greedy and thirsty to your resources. How to balance and keep your neutral position is an art and we are quite expert due to practicing it in 2000 years.

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