Vietnam says it has restored order across the country and will prosecute rioters following two days of violent anti-China protests that have left well over 100 injured and at least two dead.
"Order has been restored in those areas and we will take every measure necessary to ensure security and safety of the lives and property of foreign companies, including Chinese companies," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh.
Xinhua news agency reported that two Chinese workers died, one at a Taiwanese steel plant in central Vietnam and the other at a bicycle parts factory in the south. Vietnam reported one fatality.
Anti-China protests erupted after China earlier this month deployed an oil rig near the Paracel Islands claimed by Beijing and Hanoi that led to sea skirmishes. Industrial parks, including those run by Singapore, were attacked.
In a reprimand to Vietnam, Beijing's Foreign Ministry said it was "shocked and concerned" at the incidents that saw scores of ethnic Chinese-owned factories attacked and sent hundreds of Chinese and Taiwanese scrambling to leave the country.
"We urge the Vietnamese government to earnestly assume responsibility, get to the bottom of the incident, punish the perpetrators harshly, and pay compensation," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said.
She said the violence in Vietnam had "a direct link with the Vietnamese side's indulgence and connivance in recent days with some domestic anti-China forces and lawbreakers".
Asked by reporters how many Chinese had died, she said only that Chinese officials were travelling to central Vietnam to verify the situation and the government was shocked by reports that the death toll could be over 20.
Meanwhile, Chinese state media and netizens reacted with fury over the reports of violence.
"Vietnam is digging its own grave," warned an editorial in the nationalistic Global Times, adding that it should not play games with a great power.
Earlier, the paper reported that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had urged Vietnam not to "further complicate and aggravate the current maritime friction". He said: "China's position on safeguarding its legitimate sovereign rights and interests is firm and will not change."
Vietnam Coast Guard commander Nguyen Quang Dam yesterday said China's deployment of 70 to 80 "warships" and aircraft to protect the rig was "unacceptable", but that Vietnam will not send in naval ships.
In Ho Chi Minh City, an hour's drive from where factories were attacked, opinion was mixed. Clothes seller Boi Huu Tam, 39, had joined protests earlier but disagreed with the rioting. "We buy a lot from China; we shouldn't be fighting."
Additional reporting by Rachel Chang in Beijing