by Gabriel Dominguez
Amid heightened tensions over maritime and territorial disputes in the South China Sea (SCS) Beijing has passed a law authorising the China Coast Guard’s (CCG’s) use of firepower – under certain circumstances – against foreign vessels in waters “under China’s jurisdiction”.
According to the new ‘Maritime Police Law of the People’s Republic of China’, which was adopted on 22 January by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the CCG is now authorised to take “all necessary measures, including the use of weapons, when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organisations and individuals at sea, or are facing an imminent danger of illegal infringement”.
The new law also authorises the CCG to demolish “buildings, structures, and various fixed or floating devices” from foreign organisations and individuals located “in the sea areas and islands under our jurisdiction”, if they have been built or set up without Beijing’s permission.
Haijing 3901 , one of the 10,000 tonne Zhaotou-class cutters operated by the CCG. On 22 January China passed a law allowing the CCG to use firepower – under certain circumstances – against foreign vessels in waters “under China’s jurisdiction”. (Via http://military.cnr.cn)
Beijing regards its jurisdiction to encompass the area of the SCS within its ‘nine-dash line’, as well as waters in the East China Sea around the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, which are controlled by Japan but claimed by China.
China claims most of the SCS on the grounds that it is asserting ‘historic rights’ to maritime resources in the area. This has prompted territorial disputes with neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, which stake competing claims.