Hanoi, Vietnam • A 67-year-old Vietnamese woman died after setting herself on fire in downtown Ho Chi Minh City on Friday in protest against China's deployment of an oil rig in waters claimed by Hanoi, state media reported.
The woman self-immolated in front Reunification Palace around 6 a.m., Thanh Nien newspaper reported.
The paper quoted Le Truong Hai Hieu, a top city official, as saying police recovered a plastic container thought to contain fuel, a lighter and seven handwritten banners saying among other things: "Demand unity to smash the Chinese invasion plot" and "Support Vietnamese coast guards and fishermen."
China's deployment of the rig on May 1 in the South China Sea triggered fury in Vietnam, which has been feuding with China for years over overlapping claims in the potentially oil and gas-rich seas. Ships Hanoi sent to confront the rigs are now facing off against Chinese vessels protecting it.