05 April 2016
In the last of a three-part series, The Straits Times focuses on the unlikely foot soldiers in Beijing’s controversial move to lay claim to the South China Sea.
Chinese fisherman Lin Guanyong knows he has a perilous job working in the South China Sea, and it is not just the weather.
He was detained once by the Vietnamese authorities in 2001, after he and his 20 crewmates were arrested and charged with illegal fishing in Vietnam’s waters.
Their boat was towed to a port in Vietnam, where they stayed on board, while another boat was sent back to China to get the US$2,500 (S$3,400) needed to pay their fine. They were released after two weeks.
… “Their fishing activities and records are one of the main pieces of evidence for China’s historical claims in the South China Sea,” noted associate research fellow Zhang Hongzhou from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), an expert on China’s fishing industry and maritime security.
… But while protecting what many Tanmen fishermen call their “ancestral seas” is important, they are ultimately most concerned about their livelihoods, and are not merely passive actors following government orders, noted Mr Zhang from RSIS in Singapore.
“The fisherman don’t want war in the South China Sea as they will be prevented from fishing and their lives will be threatened,” he said.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 05/04/2016