Sun Tzu believed “It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.” The “rule of law” and “human rights” spoken about in the West simply do not apply to China — a nation that rejects “Western Values.”
BEIJING (AFP) – China will turn contested islands in the South China Sea into pleasure-trip destinations for “patriotic” tourists, state-media said Friday, in a move likely to further stoke regional tensions.
China claims almost all of the strategically vital South China Sea despite rival claims from Southeast Asian neighbours and has rapidly built reefs into artificial islands capable of hosting military planes.
But the Asian giant hopes to turn the area around Woody Island in the contested Paracels chain into a “major tourist attraction comparable to the Maldives”, the state-run China Daily said.
Holidaymakers will be able to windsurf, fish, dive, take sea plane trips and attend island weddings “for romantics”, it explained, with no mention of rival claims to the island by Vietnam and Taiwan.
AFP PHOTO / STR – Aerial view taken on July 27, 2012 shows part of the city of Sansha on the island of Yongxing, also known as Woody island in the disputed Paracel chain, which China now considers part of Hainan province. AFP PHOTO / FILES / AFP / STR
“It is not an easy trip, but many people with a patriotic spirit want to try it,” Xiao Jie, the mayor of Sansha city, on Woody Island, told the paper, adding that it was “like a blank canvas”.
Tourists have been allowed to travel to non-militarized areas of the South China Sea since 2013, it said, with Xiao estimating that 30,000 have already visited.
Cruise ships brought 16,000 tourists on six trips to the Paracel islands — known as Xisha in Chinese — last year, the paper added.
Beijing unilaterally awarded Sansha two million square kilometres of sea in 2012, declaring it to be China’s largest city.
It will use ships to remove rubbish as the number of visitors rises, the China Daily said.
Tourist ships depart from Sanya city in the southern province of Hainan, whose cruise terminal is undergoing a nearly $3 billion dollar renovation to become one of the busiest in Asia, the report said.
Cai Chaohui, vice-president of Sanya’s port affairs centre, told the paper: “I’m confident about the prospects… many tourists want to have a look at the mysterious islands”
Chinese tourists have been accused of fishing for endangered species in the South China Sea
Chinese women in military service beckon tourists to come visit the South China Sea islands.
Cruise Ship “Coconut Princess” — one of China’s new “Love Boats” for South China Sea tourists
Peace and Freedom Note: The island mentioned has been claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan. But only China is big enough, strong enough and ugly enough to simply take what may belong to others and then flaunt their success by bringing in tourists. People around the world have talked about the “Ugly American” tourists for years. Now Chinese tourists seem intent upon getting the award for most disliked tourists. But the Chinese middle class has money so they can go and enjoy anyplace their government tells them they can go.
China aims to turn some of the islands in the disputed South China Sea into Maldives-style resorts catering for weddings with new developments on areas that don’t need a military presence, a state-run newspaper quoted a top official on Friday as saying.
In an interview with the official China Daily, Xiao Jie, the mayor of what China calls Sansha city, said he hoped the area would become a major tourist attraction, comparing the trip to one to the Maldives.
“We will develop some islands and reefs to accommodate a select number of tourists,” Xiao said, adding they would be in places without a military presence. “It will be an orderly and gradual procedure.”
Sansha city is on Woody Island in the Paracel archipelago, China’s administrative base for islands and reefs it controls.
There will be sea plane trips, island weddings, fishing and diving trips, Xiao added.
“The arrival of tourists will nourish the need for divers and windsurfers,” he said.
China began tourist cruises to the South China Sea on a trial basis in 2013, as part of efforts to cement its claims by boosting the civilian presence there.
China claims most of the waters through which about $5tn in ship-borne trade passes every year. Neighbours Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.
Xiao said the cruises had been very popular with tickets hard to come by.
“It is not an easy trip, but many people with a patriotic spirit want to try it,” he added.
A second cruise ship would start operating soon, the newspaper said. There would also be regular flights to the southern Chinese island of Hainan, and Xiao said he was hopeful of direct flights to Beijing one day.
The report did not say if foreigners would be allowed to visit. To date, only Chinese nationals have be permitted to go on tours there.
It is also not clear if any of the islands in the Spratlys would be opened to tourists.
The US and its allies in the region have voiced concern about China’s increasingly assertive pursuit of its claims in the South China Sea, including building artificial islands and the construction of airfields and other military facilities.
China says most of the building work is for civilian purposes.
Anti-Chinese feelings grow wherever China’s tourists go
The bucolic, once laid-back campus of one of Thailand’s top universities is under a security clampdown. Not against a terrorist threat, but against Chinese tourists.
Thousands have clambered aboard student buses at Chiang Mai University, made a mess in cafeterias and sneaked into classes to attend lectures. Someone even pitched a tent by a picturesque lake.
Now visitors are restricted to entering through a single gate manned by Mandarin-speaking volunteers who direct Chinese tourists to a line of vehicles for guided tours. Individual visitors are banned, and a sign in prominent Chinese characters requesting that passports be produced is posted by the gate.
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