BEIJING: More than 3,500 Chinese citizens were evacuated from riot-hit Vietnam by sea on Monday, as Hanoi stifled fresh protests over a territorial dispute and foreign investors counted the cost. Passenger ships Wuzhishan, Tongguling, Zijing 12, and Baishiling collected a total of 3,553 Chinese and were headed home, China’s official news agency Xinhua reported. The vessels, each with a capacity of about 1,000 people, had left the central Vietnamese port of Vung Ang and were en route to the southern Chinese port city of Haikou, Xinhua added. Relations between the communist neighbours have plummeted following Beijing’s move earlier this month to send a deep-water drilling rig into contested waters in the South China Sea. Two Chinese nationals were killed and about 140 injured when enraged mobs torched or otherwise damaged hundreds of foreign-owned businesses in Vietnam last week.