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China News Politics

China Builds Artificial Islands In South China Sea 192

An anonymous reader writes about a Chinese building project designed to cement claims to a disputed region of the South China Sea. Sand, cement, wood, and steel are China's weapons of choice as it asserts its claim over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Brunei have sparred for decades over ownership of the 100 islands and reefs, which measure less than 1,300 acres in total but stretch across an area about the size of Iraq. In recent months, vessels belonging to the People's Republic have been spotted ferrying construction materials to build new islands in the sea. Pasi Abdulpata, a Filipino fishing contractor who in October was plying the waters near Parola Island in the northern Spratlys, says he came across "this huge Chinese ship sucking sand and rocks from one end of the ocean and blasting it to the other using a tube."

Artificial islands could help China anchor its claim to waters that host some of the world's busiest shipping lanes. The South China Sea may hold as much as 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to a 2013 report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. China has considered the Spratlys—which it calls Nansha—part of its territory since the 1940s and on occasion has used its military might to enforce its claim. In 1988 a Chinese naval attack at Johnson South Reef, in the northern portion of the archipelago, killed 64 Vietnamese border guards.
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China Builds Artificial Islands In South China Sea

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  • Not really (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mfh ( 56 ) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @11:09PM (#47295803) Homepage Journal

    Like that guy who built his house on public property [], these islands will just be removed if they aren't part of China. That's kind of sociopathic [] of them to pull that kind of a stunt unless the dispute is resolved, cooperatively.

  • Re:All wars ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @11:34PM (#47295877)

    Are resource wars.

    Except the resources that China hopes to gain will never equal the cost, in defense spending and lost trade, of alienating her neighbors. In the modern world, all wars are dumb.

  • The hypocrisy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rick in China ( 2934527 ) on Monday June 23, 2014 @12:24AM (#47296025)
    China in this instance, is so ridiculously hypocritical - their entire argument about the Senkaku(Diaoyu) islands is that Japan has only controlled them in modern times, and China has laid claim (based on little evidence, and they're uninhabited) since ancient times. Yet, here, they're claiming these islands from all these other countries, and have only laid claim since 1940 -- a claim that seemingly hasn't been supported except by China themselves. Which way they want it? All ways. China has a big 'face' problem so can't look weak to it's oppressed masses for fear of social unrest, and like Russia, thinks the whole world around it belongs to them. Really tired of this bullshit.
  • Re:Not really (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Monday June 23, 2014 @01:45AM (#47296197) Journal

    In most places in the US, if a building ends up being across a property line for a number of years unaposed, that amount of property becomes a deeded right of way. It used to change ownership and might still do so in some areas via squatters rights.

    These rules came abouy from problems with surveys, incorectly recorded deed maps, and the lack of zoning over history. It could come about from something like a house or out building being built on or close to the property line. It gets added on and not recorded, sold and the new owner sees they have 20 feet to the property line on the east side of the building not realizing the previous owner already used 15 feeet up. So the new owner adds on another 15 feet and not its ten foot over. Now lets say 20 years pass and the neighboring property is passed to an heir. They cannot make you tear down the building now.

    It isn't much of an issue now because zoning requires set backs and building permits and this is checked with plotting maps made from deed data. But at aone time, you could survey your property and find the survey pin was moved our something and someone's barn or house was on your property.

  • Re:The hypocrisy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Monday June 23, 2014 @01:46AM (#47296199) Homepage Journal
    Well the problem will persist basically as long as the Chinese Communist Party does.... The CCP is deeply unpopular in pretty much every arena save for how it is handling the economy, if the economy starts to go south you may see Tienamen-like events erupting all over the country. In order to combat this the CCP has to keep the economy humming along and large #s of migrants from the countryside employed. They have done a decent job thus far, but there are some major cracks in the Chinese economy on the horizon. Long story short they copied the Japanese model, right down to the bad loans.

    If China's economy does not keep on expanding you are looking at a potential financial crisis that would make the whole Lehman thing seem tame by comparison. The reason they are getting so bold is because to the CCP, exploiting these resources may literally be a life-or-death situation, as most dictators don't tend to just end up retired in a villa somewhere, they end up with their heads being separated from their necks.
  • Re:The hypocrisy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Monday June 23, 2014 @09:40AM (#47297433)
    You raise some good points and you may be right, but I wondering if this is actually a sign that the CCP is losing control over the PLA (People's Liberation Army). For years to keep the military at their beck and call, the CCP has been working the propaganda machine into overdrive. My experience is that the average Chinese person, at least those in the big cities and not rural people, doesn't really trust the government or believe everything they say, but the propaganda works really well for those who join the PLA. I feel that China's military is pretty unprofessional and looking to start trouble and this is because they've been indoctrinated to believe that everybody is against good old China because of jealousy and if China doesn't fight tooth and nail for everything, they'll wind up with nothing. Throw in a few references to treaties they don't like that were signed in the 1800s (none of which are in force today, by the way) to bolster the claim that they've always been the victim and you have a military that acts like a rabid dog. Also, it doesn't help that the constitution of China pledges the PLA to defend the CCP, not China itself. So the CCP is at once both the state and more important than the state at the same time. It may be that all these years of indoctrination are bearing their inevitable ugly fruit now and they have to keep them busy building islands so they don't try to force an invasion of Taiwan, something that would possibly result in the US and Japan attacking China over.
  • by object404 ( 1883774 ) on Monday June 23, 2014 @11:43AM (#47298193) Homepage


    China is in complete violation [] of international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea [] which China itself signed [] and had agreed [] to [] and ">ratified in 1996 [].

    China has been building structures, hunting and mass poaching endangered species and destroying coral reefs within [] the maritime exclusive economic zones of The Philippines and Vietnam (200 nautical miles or 370km from the coastline of those countries) [] while at the same time, forming naval blockades and harassing fishermen from Vietnam and the Philippines in their own waters []. Recently a Chinese fishing vessel was caught with the poaching and mass slaughter of over 500 endangered and protected sea turtles within Philippine waters []. Pics of the slaughter [].

    This article is a must-read on the behavior of the 800lb gorilla China and its bullying tactics: China's Pre-Imperial Overstretch [] and follow-up article: China and the Mosquitoes [].

    Another must read is the NY Times article A Game of Shark And Minnow [] about the ragtag crew of Philippine marines stationed on a grounded derelict ship in the area as an outpost. That NY Times article has a very good diagram on the 200NM exclusive economic zones and China's ridiculous "nine-dash line" tongue-shaped delineation which claims the entirety of the area hundreds of miles away from their nearest legal territory, Hainan Island. The basis of China's 9-dash line claims? Fabricated bullshit. Pre-19th century maps []show this []. Even China's own historical maps contradict their absurd claims []. Bullying, intimidation, violation, invasion and annexation of territories of smaller, weaker states. It's that simple. See also: Tibet [].

The greatest productive force is human selfishness. -- Robert Heinlein