Over 100 more were injured, China's state-run news agency said, and Taiwan evacuated over 1,000 of its citizens from Vietnam. Rampaging mobs looted and burned factories south of Ho Chi Minh City Tuesday and Wednesday, and the violence spread across the country Thursday.
One of the dead was killed in a Taiwanese bicycle factory in Binh Duong province; the other, whose circumstances were not explained by the news agency, died in Ha Tinh province. Another 10 people are unaccounted for.
The rioters evidently do not or cannot distinguish between Chinese mainland and Taiwanese manufacturing facilities. Hundreds of Taiwanese have left Ho Chi Minh City, where Taiwanese factories are concentrated.
"There are demonstrations every day, including all industrial areas," said Lee Wang-chung, a Taiwanese director of a car parts factory, Thursday. In order to avoid more serious problems, all of the companies stopped working temporarily."
The Beijing government summoned Vietnam's ambassador to China for what a spokeswoman called "solemn representations" of protest, and to demand Vietnam ensure the safety of foreigners.
The Vietnamese are angered by China's installation of an oil rig in what it considers Vietnamese waters in the South China Sea. Navy and commercial vessels had a confrontation in the sea earlier this week, with Vietnam claiming damage to its navy ships and injuries to its sailors.