Conversation with Admin of Chinese Forum on Spratly (2)

Another exchange with Nick, the Admin of Nansha Islands Forum (http://www.nansha.org.cn/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=666)

Me:

I posted an article with the following subject in the forum:

China kills and harrasses Vietnamese fishermen to satisfy hegemonic ambitions
http://paracelspratlyislands.blogspot.com/2008/01/chinese-harrassment-of-vietnamese.html

Nick:

时间: 2008-1-14 周一, 下午1:28 标题: Chinese navy's stern actions against vietnamese fishermen

Note, the following stuff was compiled based on tonymango's (My nick) post, which is now written in a neutral tongue. (Any post that written in a strong prejudice tongue may be modified to a neutral tongue; the administrators have the right to amend a post to make it less offensive or provocative)
-----------

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. Chinese authority claimed that these fishermen were armed robbers.

Of course, the alledged robbers did not acknowldege they are robbers, they claimed that 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. "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."

Just like that Chinese fishmen are often captured by Philippine navy and by Vietnamese nay as well, 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 Xisha Islands while they tried to approach a Chinese controlled island in order to escape strong winds that were endangering their boat (as the vietnamese said).

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. On the other hand, the so-called fishmen were suspected as disguised vietnamese soldiers trying to spy China's military facilities on that island, the excuse of "to escape strong winds that were endangering their boat" was quite shaky because the vietnamese have been safe from the sea wind when they were driven off the Chinese island.

Captured Vietnamese fishermen are made to pay a heavy fine before they are let go, by which the trespassers could be deterred to Chinese territory. Tieu Viet La, the owner of the boat shot by the Chinese navy tried to flee, said “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”.

On 21 August 2007, 28 fishermen were captured a little bit north of the Nasha 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 the vietnamese are 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.

China is claiming 80% of the waters in sourth China Sea as Chinese territories.

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 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?

Me:

时间: 2008-1-14 周一, 下午4:25 标题: Re: Chinese navy's stern actions against vietnamese fishmen

WARNING FROM ORIGINAL AUTHOR:

THIS VERSION OF THE POST WHICH THE ADMINISTRATOR CLAIMS TO BE "NEUTRAL" AND "LESS OFFENSIVE OR PROVOCATIVE" PROVES TO BE EXTREMELY UNNEUTRAL AND OFFENSIVE, AND PROVOCATIVE.

FOR EXAMPLE, "PARACEL ISLANDS"I IN THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE IS CHANGED TO "XISHA ISLANDS" BY THE ADMIN. WHAT IS MORE NEUTRAL???? PARACEL (INTERNATIONAL ENGLISH NAME, NOT VIETNAMESE WHICH IS HOANG SA) OR XISHA? NOT TO MENTION ALL THE EXTRA SENTENCES THAT WERE ADDED BY THE ADMIN AND THE INFORMATION AND SENTENCES THAT WERE DELETED TO REFLECT THE ADMIN’S OWN POINT OF VIEW.

AS THE ORIGINAL WRITER OF THE ARTICLE, I REQUEST THAT YOU [ADMIN] DELETE THIS POST COMPLETELY RATHER THAN USE IT IN THIS EXTREMELY DISTASTEFUL FORM.

FOR THOSE WHO WOULD LIKE TO COMPARE THE TWO VERSIONS IN ORDER TO COME TO YOUR OWN CONCLUSION ABOUT THE ARGUMENTS BEING MADE, PLEASE COME TO THIS LINK. http://paracelspratlyislands.blogspot.com/2008/01/chinese-harrassment-of-vietnamese.html

IN THE EFFORT TO KEEP THE LINE OF DEBATE OPEN, IT IS HOPED THAT THE ADMIN WILL NOT STOP MEMBERS FROM SEARCHING FOR INFORMATION IN OTHER WEBSITES.

Me:

时间: 2008-1-14 周一, 下午5:27 标题: Advice to Admin from someone whose article was edited by adm

To Admin, As an educated person, I would like to give you some suggestions on running on what you expound to be a respectable forum:

1) Respect other people’s point of views even if it disagrees with your own. Arguments made, whether they are provocative or unneutral are acceptable as long as they are supported by facts. If someone does not agree with the information present, he/she can present a different set of facts in order to counter.

2) Someone being in opposition with your own viewpoint does not immediately imply that what they present is offensiveness or provocative. It may be your own personal psychological insecurity that makes you feel that way.

3) If you have the ability, write a new article in response to opposition articles instead of rewriting other’s articles to reflect your own viewpoint and distort the original writer's position. That’s the academic, mature, and intelligent way to conduct debates.

4) Do not unnecessarily abuse your power as admin. You will not gain respect for it.

5) If you decide to edit other people’s articles, make sure you use correct spelling and other rules related to writing. People who don't know may think that the poor use of language is the fault of the original writer.

This is genuine advice and not something meant to be “offensive” and “provocative” to you. If you perceive these suggestions as provocative, you may not have what it takes to be an admin. Please reflect on what I’m saying.

Sincerely,

Nick:

时间: 2008-1-14 周一, 下午7:59 标题:

thanks tonymango for the suggestions.

Remember this is a Chinese forum, and the majority of the visitors to this forum are Chinese. So we need to look after the feeling of the Chinese people, that is why administrators sometimes need to emend some strongly prejudiced posts to make them neutral and acceptable.

We administrators have been very generous and tolerant to the vietnamese, and allowed them to post something like "Vietnamese original proofs of sovereinty over ParacelSpratly" as well as lots of quite prejudiced photos.

Unfortunately, some vietnamese have abused our tolerance, spoiled the friendly atmosphere for communication by cursing, insulting and posting various offending photos that are irrelevant to this forum.

To better understand our situation and action, you may read my post on "vietnamese to read: why "yuefeng" was denied to this forum", which can be found at http://www.nansha.org.cn/phpbb/viewforum.php?f=2 So, we administrators reserve the right to amend (in some cases to delete) posts, or even ban IDs when we think it highly necessary, that action is essential to make the forum be in good shape and functional.

Me:

时间: 2008-1-14 周一, 下午8:42 标题:

I agree with your actions for anything that relates to abusive language such as cursing, pestering, or harrassing. The action to amend, delete, etc... is the right and the duty of the admin. I fully support your action on that front. However, if you open a "forum" in the truest meaning of the word, it should admit all points of views, even when they are very much difficult to digest. A forum is best when there are opposing points of views to which debates can freely take pleace without being afraid of the others' arguments. If you cannot take opposing arguments, I advise you to close the forum to non-Chinese all together. I'd rather not be admitted than to be admitted and then have my arguments be distorted or watered down.

If you continue to open it to others who don't support the Chinese position, you should do the following: If you see abusive language in the posts, please do your duty as admin. However, if you see strong arguments against your points of view, please think twice before taking actions. Strong language and abusive language is not the same.

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