While food safety is a major public concern within China, the seemingly endless parade of food scares and scandals has also become a focal point for anti-Chinese sentiment in neighboring Vietnam. From Chris Brummitt at the Associated Press:
While fears about the safety of Chinese food products are often well founded, in Vietnam they are so tangled up with anti-Chinese sentiment it is hard to tell where one begins and the other ends. More than 1,000 years of occupation, a bloody border war in 1979 and renewed assertiveness by China in pushing territorial claims in the South China Sea mean that tales of Chinese perfidy find fertile soil in which to grow.
[…] Nguyen Quang Bach, a customs official at Tan Thanh, one of the major entry points for Chinese goods into Vietnam, said last year daily imports peaked at 2,100 metric tons of fruit a day in the run up to the Lunar New Year, when demand for fruits is at its highest. He said this year the busiest day saw half that cross the border.
“The information (about alleged dangers) has affected people’s psychology,” he said. “Consumers don’t eat Chinese fruits and importers can’t sell them.”