The South China Sea is a fishing paradise. But it’s also a flash point for maritime disputes.
He Zhuang and 10 other Chinese fishermen were detained by the Philippine police, while fishing in waters off China’s Half Moon Shoal on May 6th. 30 days after his release, the memories are still painful.
As territorial frictions with neighboring countries over the islands continue to heat up, China established Sansha city in 2012, to strengthen its foothold.
Based on Yongxing Island, the city provides an outpost to help safeguard the country’s maritime rights and interests. Sansha’s first mayor Xiao Jie has the urgent, challenging task of protecting his jurisdiction.
He believes one of the most effective means in defending the country’s maritime rights, is to strengthen civil law enforcement.
China claims its southernmost boundary is at Zengmu Ansha, or James Shoal, at four degrees north latitude.
Sansha’s jurisdiction covers some 2 million square kilometers of water. Some 2,000 Chinese fishermen make their living in the South China Sea. And most of them belong to the local militia.
Patrolling the disputed waters is now routine. This is to prevent Chinese fishermen from being harassed by foreign ships. He Zhuang hopes the nine villagers still detained in the Philippines will also be released. He’s counting on the Sansha government to protect their legal rights.
He Zhuang says they will support the Sansha government in the efforts to safeguard sovereignty in the South China Sea. And they are determined to fish in even tougher waters ahead.
CCTV’s Han Bin reports from Sansha.