Off late, the vile Chinese Communist Party and its leader Xi Jinping has left no stone unturned to push its expansionist policies in the region in and around its boundary.
News reports have come which state that China has unleashed a huge fishing fleet some 160 miles away from the Galapagos Islands, the archipelagos where Charles Darwin discovered the theory of evolution. The discovery of the Chinese fleet has sparked fears for the protected region’s diverse ecosystem and delicate marine life.
The fishing fleet was spotted via satellite imaging on the borders of the Galápagos Protection Zone.
However one shouldn’t mistake these as ordinary fishing fleets because most of these boats are part of the Chinese maritime militia, properly trained and educated to ward off potentially armed hostilities and to also exert dominance in the region by scaring off the fishermen, stealing their fishes and claiming authority over the sovereign boundaries of other nations.
In fact, the maritime militia of China is a paramilitary force trained by the Chinese navy to engage in “patrol, surveillance, resupply, and other missions to bolster China’s presence in contested waters.
Most of the maritime militia vessels operate on high seas and are usually engaged in commercial fishing, but are routinely called on to assist the PLA-Navy or China Coast Guard (CCG).
Broadly construed, these forces are styled as the People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia (PAFMM) and operate as a Third Sea Force of China.
According to a news report in The Diplomat, USA’s former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richards had warned his Chinese counterpart, Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong, that the United States was well-aware that China uses its militia fishing fleet to push its illegal claims in the East and South China Seas.
China’s maritime militia was also believed to be behind a series of laser attacks against an Australian naval helicopter over the South China Sea, last year.
Fortunately, the helicopter which was attacked by the militia, made it safely back to the ship, and thereafter came reports which stated that the crew of the Royal Australian Navy helicopter was targeted by lasers from nearby Chinese fishing vessels during a night flight.
Most of China’s militia vessels are indistinguishable from its ordinary fishing fleet, hence masquerading as a fishing boat and attacking the enemies is a relatively easier task.
The other reason these Chinese fleet boats travel thousands of miles is to satiate the hunger of ordinary Chinese. In a greed to emerge as a superpower of the world, China in the last few decades has completely destroyed its aquatic ecology by including in rampant offshore drilling and using unsustainable fishing practices like trawling. China’s fishing stock has reached such alarming lows that it has resorted to stealing now.
According to a 2016 study undertaken by a team of international experts, China has lost “one-half of its coastal wetlands, 57% of mangroves, and 80% of coral reefs, most of which are critical spawning, nursing, or feeding grounds for fish,”
Subsequently, to gratify its population’s rising desire to eat exotic aquatic food, the Chinese fishing vessels have resorted to catching in the high seas (meaning International Waters).
By 2030, China is projected to account for 38% of global marine catch, more than double any other region and it would mean more Chinese vessels in the sea and more Chinese militia vessel hiding in plain sight for the countries to fend off.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and other countries that have claims over numerous parts of the South China Sea have been troubled by the menace of the Chinese fishing fleet/militia fleet which routinely engages in encroachment activities in the region.
In 2016, an arbitration tribunal determined that Chinese vessels had unlawfully prevented Filipino fishermen from engaging in traditional fishing at Scarborough Shoal
The tribunal also found that Chinese fishing vessels engaged in Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, including harvesting endangered giant clams, corals, and sea turtles.
Over the years, China has used the militia to advance its disputed sovereignty claims in international sea incidents throughout the South and East China seas. The Chinese have taken their expansionist policies to a whole new level as they have come around to South America and the USA will not be liking it one bit.
Its high time that China’s third force in the sea is exposed to the world and shown its right place, otherwise, the PLA-Navy will only be more encouraged to undertake such nefarious activities.