Peking has expanded its vehement propaganda campaign against Hanoi by broadcasting television pictures of Chinese refugees streaming out of Vietnam and publishing eyewitness accounts of alleged Vietnamese persecution.
A Chinese language newspaper here with links to Peking has also published an official East German news agency report that Peking has decided to withdraw its economic technicians from Vietnam and stop aid projects there. But there was still no official Chinese response to the reports by the German agency and similar reports by diplomatic sources here.
The report in the Hong Kong daily Ta Kung Pao said, "whether China will withdraw all or just part of the [aid group] is unknown." The Vietnamese ambassador in Peking, who has contradicted Chinese allegations of persecution of Chinese in Vietnam, told a Western correspondent in Peking Thursday he did not know of any withdrawal of Chinese technicians.
Reuter said last night that East European sources in Peking reported that China had withdrawn technicians from some projects in Vietnam but that there had not been a complete cut in Chinese aid to Hanoi despite the sharp deterioration in relations. The agency said Vietnamese Vice Foreign Minister Phan Hin was in Peking apparently to try to heal the widening split between the two countries.
Yesterday morning, the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi distributed to diplomatic missions and various press agencies the copy of an official Chinese statement that said the situation of Chinese residents in Vietnam "is deteriorating daily."
The Vietnamese Foreign Ministry was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying China was "distorting the truth" and that reports about persecutions and expulsions of Chinese residents from Vietnam were totally contrary to the truth."
The official Vietnamese news agency said its investigation showed that "Vietnam has never evicted Chinese residents nor has anything which might be termed ill treatment of Chinese people occurred." The agency dispatch quoted Vietnamese Communist Party Central Committee Secretary Xuan Thuy as saying that rumormongers spreading stories of Chinese demands for its citizens to return to their homeland had brought about the migration of ethnic Chinese from Vietnam.
In a front page article yesterday, Ta Kung Pao of Hong Kong said 70,000 recent refugees from Vietnam would be resettled in "overseas Chinese communes" in the border province of Yunnan. Observers here said establishing permanent refugee communities near the border would probably sustain the tensions that have brought a sudden outbreak of public hostility by China toward its fellow Socialist neighbour to the south.
Peking television Thursday night broadcast about 10 minutes of news film showing Chinese crossing a river border from Vietnam swimming or in boats, as Vietnamese security personnel looked on. The program, as shown on Canton television and monitored here, included weeping women and children and an interview with one Chinese who displayed medals he said he had won helping Vietnam fight the Americans. The film showed a bridge said to have been built by Chine to speed delivery of aid to Vietnam.
The New China News Agency yesterday released a long emotional report by one of its correspondents who interviewed refugees in the border town of Tunghsing, part of the Kwangsi Chuang Atonomous Region.
"I saw the conditions of the victimized Chinese residents driven back to China by the Vietnamese authorities, and looking across the river, was confronted with the tragic sight of Vietnamese army and police personnel pursuing and beating their victims," the news agency report began.
The report said Chinese and Vietnamese living on opposite banks of the Peilun River have been friendly in the past.
"Dark clouds now hang over this river, however, owing to the Vietnamese authorities' large-scale persecution and driving out of Chinese residents," the report said.
"A woman who had still not recovered from the shock told people how one hour earlier on her way out of Vietnam she had seen a young man among the harassed Chinese ganged up on and badly mauled by six Vietnamese soliders," the news agency said.
It said Vietnamese soldiers stopped an old Chinese peasant, pointed a bayonet at his throat, twisted both his arms behind him and stole the food he was carrying.
"The forefinger of his right hand was broken, in a compound fracture that pierced the skin, so that he had to be rushed to the Tunghsing County hospital for treatment upon his return to China," the report said.
Despite reports of scuffles and troop reinforcements on its border with Vietnam for the past few months, Peking had made no outright propaganda attack on Hanoi until Tuesday's lengthy report on alleged Vietnamese persecution of Chinese by Peking's overseas Chinese affairs office. The report charged Hanoi with cutting off rations and closing businesses of ethnic Chinese, and forcing them to leave the country.