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Vietnam To Help Companies Hit By Anti-China Riots

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Vietnam has promised to provide financial help to businesses hit by anti-China riots which erupted last week over a territorial dispute between Hanoi and Beijing in the South China Sea.

The measures include tax relief, rent waivers and early lines of credit, the government said in a statement issued late on Wednesday.

The tax relief will include a maximum 30-percent cut in special consumption tax this year and a two-year delay in payments for taxes that arose before May 2014, it said.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung had asked the finance ministry to press insurers to speed up damage assessments and payouts to affected enterprises.

Vietnam would also ease visa requirements for foreign workers and allow early credits for affected businesses, among other relief measures.

Thousands of people attacked businesses and factories in Vietnam last week, targeting Chinese workers and Chinese-owned businesses after Beijing parked an oil rig in a part of the South China Sea claimed by Hanoi.

Many Taiwanese-owned firms bore the brunt because the crowds believed they were owned by mainland Chinese.

The Vietnamese government said two people were killed and 140 others were wounded in Ha Tinh province. Metallurgical Corporation of China Ltd said four were killed and 130 injured in the protests.

A doctor and an eyewitness, however, said they saw between 13 and 21 dead bodies, mostly Chinese, on the night of the unrest.

Several thousand fearful Chinese and Taiwanese left Vietnam last week, but most large companies operating in industrial parks hit by the riots have resumed operations.