President Xi Jinping concerned about fishermen safety in disputed South China Sea



According to a report from the Chinese newspaper First Financial Daily (CBN), President Xi Jinping has recently visited the town of Qionghai City, Hainan Province. He boarded a fishing boat heading for the far South China Sea, and talked with dozens of local fishermen regarding voyage safety and living conditions. He also reminded them that they must pay attention to travel safety, and wish them good fishing, and have more big fish.

Former president of Politics and Public Administration College of Hainan University, An Yingmin said in a interview with the First Financial Daily that “this is a very positive signal from the head of state: China is highly concerned about the safety problems of fishermen in the South China Sea.”

Associate Professor of the School of Politics and Public Administration, Hainan University, Jiang Hongyi, also believes that Xi Jinping’s visit to the fishermen releases signal that China is vigorous to develop the marine fisheries in the South China Sea.

As the offshore fishery resources are depleting, the Hainan fishermen will need to go to the far South China Sea. Huang Baoshan, China Fisheries Association Deputy Secretary-General, said that the development of the far South China Sea off the coast of Hainan will provide promising fisheries.


In July last year, a 30-boat fishing team from Sanya City bounded for the Sansha fisheries. Their slogan is: Go fishing in Sansha! Sansha is a prefecture of the People’s Republic of China’s Hainan province which administers (actually or nominally) several island groups and undersea atolls in the South China Sea, comprising the Spratly and Paracel Islands as well as the Macclesfield Bank.

Some fishing boat owners in Hainan told the reporter that they found that the fish resource was rich during their fishing in Xisha last year. Over the past year, including the diesel subsidies granted by the government, they earned an average of more than 100,000 yuan(USD 16,000). Nevertheless, the owners of these vessels also expressed that the Xisha is not only too far, and also dangerous. In this regard, some of them are still considering about this year’s operating range.

“In the early years, probably more than 1,000 vessels were doing offshore fishing, and now the number is only about 260 because the risk is too great” said Shen, Yueping, “They were often caught and the fine was also very serious.”

According to An Yingmin, Hainan fishermen encounter danger everywhere by operating in the controversial South China Sea. Safety around the ares is worse than before triggered by the dispute of the Diaoyu Islands between China and Japan in another water.

In October 2011, a Chinese fishing boat was hit in the South China Sea by the Philippine military vessel. Similar events also happened between the Chinese fishermen and the Vietnamese military and police.

Editorial Comment: With Chinese new president’s visit to the fishermen in Hainan Province, the clear signal contained is that China will stand firm in the South China Sea dispute in safeguarding its territory and protecting its fishermen’s normal activities in the water.

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