Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

BEIJING (AP) — China is sending five ships to Vietnam to speed up the evacuation of its citizens following deadly anti-Chinese riots over Beijing’s deployment of an oil rig in disputed waters.

The official Xinhua News Agency says that the first ship departed Sunday morning from the southern island of Hainan.

Riot police stand guard on a street outside a factory building in Binh Duong on May 14, 2014, as anti-China protesters set more than a dozen factories on fire in Vietnam, according to state media, in an escalating backlash against Beijing’s deployment of an oil rig in contested waters. (Image source: AFP/VNExpress/Getty Images)

China’s Foreign Ministry says more than 3,000 Chinese have already been evacuated from Vietnam following the riots this past week that left two Chinese dead and injured about 100 others.

Commuters drive past as riot police (L) stand guard outside a burning factory building (back) in the Vietnamese southern province of Binh Duong on May 14, 2014. (Image source: AFP/Getty Images)

Vietnam ordered a stop to anti-China protests and in the capital, Hanoi, on Sunday police pushed away a handful of protesters and journalists in front of the Chinese Embassy.

The AP added that Vietnamese authorities have forcibly broken up small protests against China; witnesses in southern Ho Chi Minh City said police dragged away several demonstrators from a park in the city center.

China deployed an oil rig to the disputed South China Sea on May 1, triggering fury in Vietnam; last Sunday the authoritarian government allowed protests as way of registering its anger at China, the AP said.

But riots on Tuesday and Wednesday that left two Chinese nationals dead and scores of factories trashed damaged investor confidence and spooked the government, which keeps a tight grip on society.

This story has been updated.

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