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VIETNAM: New Restrictions on Chinese Nationals Holding Passport with "Nine-Dash Line" Map

, 14/01/2020

In the context of ongoing territorial disputes between Vietnam and China over parts of the South China Sea, the Chinese passport showing the so-called "nine-dash line" map has again recently been causing trouble for Chinese nationals applying for work permits and local police clearance certificates in Hanoi.


The "nine-dash line" is a vaguely defined and strongly disputed demarcation line used by the Chinese government for their territorial claims the South China Sea.

Restrictive Measures

Since the end of December 2019, the Labour and Justice Departments in Hanoi have been rejecting applications for work permits and police clearance certificates respectively, for Chinese Nationals holding passports showing the "nine-dash line" map of the South China Sea.

Moreover, Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade recently requested domestic importers to closely inspect and reject any goods that include the disputed map, after a domestic importer was found to be selling Chinese-made cars that had the nine-dash line in the default navigation system.

So far, it seems that other government authorities, including the Immigration Department, are continuing to accept applications as usual.

While these new restrictions may only be temporary, they result from political disagreement and it is therefore impossible to predict how long they will be effective, or whether they could be enforced in other provinces of Vietnam, or other government departments, in the coming weeks and months.