Chinese Hegemony and the Harrassment of Vietnamese Fishermen in South China Sea

(Tieu Viet La and his boat

shot by Chinese navy in June, 2007)

By L.D.


Paracel and Spratly Islands Forum

Even though the disputes in the South China Sea over the two archipelagos of Paracel and Spratly between Vietnam, China, and other countries in the region have not been resolved, China continues to display actions of arrogance and expansionism over the region despite having signed the 2002 Declaration of Conduct with ASEAN.

One of the most notorious actions of China that blatantly violates the 2002 DOC is the continual harrassment of Vietnamese fishermen in the South China Sea. On the night of 8 January 2005, Chinese navy shot and killed 9 Vietnamese fishermen and injured 8 others. The ones who did not die were captured and taken to China. The incident occurred in the Gulf of Tokin, 10 miles west of the nearest common fishing water, which is well within the Vietnamese territorial waters.

Chinese authority claimed that these fishermen were armed robbers. But by the look of their small wooden boat, they looked like anything but sea pirates. "They fiercely attacked us with the intention of killing the crew to steal the boat rather than just stealing our boat," Pham Van Quang, one of the survivors of the attack said. Nguyen Phi Phuong, the owner of the boat added, "In recent months, local boats have been attacked by Chinese fishing boats in the Gulf of Tonkin but this time I cannot imagine Chinese boats attacking my boat so savagely."

Vietnamese fishermen being captured by Chinese navy is a regular thing that happens in the South China Sea. Just in the month of December 2004, 80 Vietnamese were captured by the Chinese navy. Just in the first six months of 2007, five boats and 60 men were seized.

On 26 June 2007, five Vietnamese fishermen were shot and injured near the Paracel islands while they tried to approach a Chinese controlled island in order to escape strong winds that were endangering their boat. According to the victims, as soon as the Chinese navy saw the boat, it went after the fishermen who fled out to sea again. However, the Chinese boat did not let them go but followed and continued to shoot at the fishermen’s boat, which would eventually be seized when the men had to stop and seek emergency for the injured. The Paracel islands is presently under Chinese control after China invaded it and illegally took it from Vietnam in 1974.

Captured Vietnamese fishermen are made to pay an exhorbitant fine before they are let go. That is the reason why Tieu Viet La, the owner of the boat shot by the Chinese navy tried to flee. “If we stopped they would confiscate all our goods and take us up the island to fine over 100 million dong. Because we feared being imprisoned, we had to flee. We thought that if we fled far away, they would stop shooting. When they let us go, the boat that we used that day was confiscated. It was a boat that I had to borrow money in order to buy,” he said.

On 21 August 2007, 28 fishermen were captured a little bit north of the Spratly islands and brought to Hainan island. They were then told to have their family transfer 120,000 yuan (about 16,000 dollars) to a bank account in China as fine. This is a tremendous sum for these poor fishermen.

The encounters between the Chinese navy and Vietnamese fishermen always put the poor fishermen at a disadvantage. When caught, the fishermen are told that they have violated Chinese waters. When the fishermen show them the map that indicates that they had been fishing in Vietnamese territories, Chinese navy would dismiss their claims. But there is not much choice for the fishermen because their small boats could do little against Chinese navy boats with uniformed officers, guns, and canons. Vietnamese fishermen also cannot speak Chinese which prevents them from making their case against their captors. Even though the Vietnamese government does not recognize Chinese authority in the Spratly islands, when the encounters take place at sea, it’s the Chinese with the big guns and boats who decide what happens to the fishermen.

Chinese execution of its hegemonic ambitions in the South China Sea, if successful, would claim 80% of the waters as Chinese territories. Even though disputes have not been resolved, partly because China consistently refuses to settle the matter through the International Court or International Arbitrator due to its lack of confidence in its legal claims to the archipelagos, China resorts to using its military prowess to control the sea, at the perils of poor fishermen trying to make a living.

On the other hand, fishermen coming from China into the areas are well protected by its own navy, which also makes regular patrols to protect its “territories”. The Chinese navy makes patrol trips as close as 40 nautical miles from Vietnam mainland. According to the Vietnamese coast guard, in the entire year of 2004, over 1,100 illegal incursions were made by Chinese patrol boats into Vietnamese waters. Even though Vietnamese goastguard gives warnings and protests, these actions are too weak to scare away the Chinese navy personnelle.

The calamity that Vietnamese fishermen are facing in the South China Sea will not go away any time soon because China continues to claim that it has indisputable rights to these archipelagos and the surrounding waters, and uses brute force to put these claims in practice. The only thing that no one can help but be puzzled at, is how China could claim 80% of the South China Sea based on its claims of two small archipelagos that are uninhabitable. Can little islands count much more than even an entire country’s coastline?

11 comments:

L.D. said...

This is a comment from Leo sent through email:

September 2006, when the Xangsane storm was in the East Sea of Viet Nam, China's soldiers at Hoang Sa stopped Vietnamese fisher men from entering the islands to avoid the storm.

16:20', June 27th 2006, when casting achor in the north of Hoang Sa islands to avoid a storm, 18 Vietnamese's fising boats was attacked and robbed by a Chinese ship No301, then was prevented from staying at the islands to avoid the storm. The lost property was 25 oil barrels, 4 tonnes of dried cuttle & 10 barrel of fresh water.

In the fisrt 8 months of 2007, China continues to attacked VietNamese fishermen, caused many to die; some of them were even kidnapped , then families of whom were asked for ransoms of hundreds million VNDs

ALL THE THINGS ABOVE HAPPEN WHEN HOANG SA PARACEL ISLANDS AREN'T OF THE CHINESE AT ALL!!!

THEY BELONG TO VIET NAM, BUT WERE ROBBED FROM OUR PEOPLE IN 1974 WHEN CHINA ATTACKED THE ISLANDS WITH THEIR NAVY AND KILLED MANY OF OUR SOLDIERS. AT THAT TIME, THE ISLANDS BELONG TO SOUTH VIET NAM ACCORDING TO THE GENEVE CONVENTION (1954). THE ONLY REASON CHINA GIVE FOR THEIR INVASION WAS THE DIPLOMATIC NOTE OF NORTH VIETNAM ON AGREEMENT ABOUT CHINESE TERRITORIAL WATERS INCLUDING HOANG SA AND TRUONG SA PARACEL ISLANDS, WHICH WAS ILLEGAL DUE TO THE FACT THAT THOSE ISLANDS AT THAT TIME BELONGED TO SOUTH VIET NAM, NOT NORTH VIET NAM ( ACCORDING TO THE GENEVE CONVENTION)

huyuni said...

Charlestoncheap columbia jackets. turned a pair of double plays to do the trick. spyder jacketsThe had at least one runner on in every inning but the first and outhit the RiverDogs by a 12-6 margin Lawal should be a focal point of the Yellow cheap polo shirts along with highly touted newcomer, 6-9 Derrick Favors, rated as the No. 1 power forward on the ESPNU 100. The Yellow Jackets

huyuni said...

Lacoste Polo Shirts, burberry polo shirts, Burberry Polo Shirts.wholesale Lacoste polo shirts and cheap polo shirtswith great price. clothingol.com offers lot of 10 lacoste polo shirts and lot of 20 cheap polo shirts. clothingol.com offers classic fit polo shirts. polo clothing

huyuni said...

Cheap Brand Jeans ShopMen Jeans - True Religion Jeans, Women JeansGUCCI Jeans, Levi's Jeans, D&G Jeans, RED MONKEY Jeans, Cheap JeansArmani Jeans, Diesel Jeans, Ed hardy Jeans, Evisu Jeans, Jack&Jones Jeans...

huyuni said...

nike shoes & Puma Shoes Online- tn nike,puma shoes,puma cat, baskets cheap nike shox, air max.cheap nike shox r4 torch, cheap nike air, nike running shoes air max, puma speed and more. Paypal payment.nike running shoes Enjoy your shopping experience on Nike & Puma Shoes Online Store.

Anonymous said...

There are ed hardy shirts
,pretty ed hardy shirt for men,

ed hardy womens in the ed hardy online store

designed by ed hardy ,
many cheap ed hardy shirt ,glasses,caps,trouers ed hardy shirts on sale ,

You can go to edhardyshirts.com to have a look ,you may find one of ed hardy clothing fit for you
Top qualitymen's jacket,
These cheap jacket are on sale now,you can find
north face jackets inmage on our web
Ralph Lauren Polo Shirtsbuberry polo shirts

Do you wannaghd hair straighteners for you own , we have many
cheap ghd hair straightenersin style and great,you can choose one from these
hair straighteners
Authentic chaussure puma
chaussure sport
And chaussure nike shoes
Come here to have a look of our Wholesale Jeans
Many fashionMens Jeans ,eye-catching
Womens Jeans ,and special out standing
Blue Jeans ,you can spend less money on our
Discount Jeans but gain really fine jeans, absolutely a great bargain.
http://www.weddingdressseason.com
 

http://CLOTHES-WHOLESALE.US

lla said...

Anothre set of ralph lauren polo in three colors. Burbrery Polo Shirts come with a graduation of colors on the chest. The new shiki Cheap polo shirts logo is on the chest. Comes in all layres and can be worned tucked in or out wholesale polo shirts.
Also comes with sculpted collar and arm cuffs.Flat knit collar, Contrast placket and half moon, Mothre-of-pearl buttons and tennis tail, Soft double knit piqué,100% cotton ralph lauren polo shirts. If you lend your embroidrere a sample cheap ralph lauren polos that will help you get the closest match to the original embroidreed design. The artwork you provide will sreve as a template for your embroidrey set-up but discount ralph lauren polos can't be used to identify some stitch types, give precise sizing of embroidreed elements and show thread polo clothing colors.

lla said...

ed hardy clothes Highlights of the composition and color-rich design, simple lines so that ed hardy t-shirts has become a pleasure to look at, but the Ed Hardy-rich products, such as, ed hardy clothing people ed hardy sunglasses and look forward to the next ed hardy shirts changing the color of the years. ED HARDY personality patterns in order to attract the ed hardy mens and ed hardy womens .
babolat aeropro drive
wilson k factor
babolat tennis racket

lla said...

Womens Handbags is one of most popular designer bags brand all over the world. The following line is available in different nice looking and charming colors, also in favorable price. These knock off designer handbags are designed to cater for fashion and elegant ladies. I very much like the cheap purses, but it is very cheap handbags. Made of high-grade leather, light weight. Wholesale Handbags are the words the overall appearance of the color brown.
ralph lauren polo
burberry polo shirt

lla said...

What prince-o3-tour would be bettre in my opinion would be to remove the wrist straps and the skin, and instead make it a 2 babolat pure drive, 2 stereing wheels, 1 baseball bat and 1 golf club. Still, this package is great value for your money. When my wife informed me that Emporio Armani was now pushing its own signature wilson k six, the EA7, I’ve got to admit, I was intrigued. Italian designres producing tennis rackets? How fashion forward of thstrong. I love it. Head microgel is style and preformance at cheap tennis racquets best. Haute couture meets the hard courts.

Dorothy said...

Thank you for this article, quite effective data.