China's apex court warns against ''illegal'' fishing in South China Sea

02 August 2016

China is fighting The Hague court ruling against its South China Sea build-up with threats to Vietnam and the Philippines and warnings against fishing in the South China Sea, where China claims most of the resource-rich waters.

China's Supreme Court has said that people caught illegally fishing in Chinese waters could be jailed for up to a year, while the military said it wants to give a ''bloody nose'' to Vietnam, the Philippines, and other states claiming territory in the South China Sea.

The Chinese court's ruling issuing a judicial interpretation defining the South China Sea as China's exclusive economic zones is a retort to the arbitration court's award that has nullified Beijing's claims to the waters.

The Hague court last month ruled that China has no historic title over the waters of the South China Sea and that it has breached the Philippines' sovereign rights with its actions. The court also dismissed China's claims to the reefs stating that none of the reefs in the Spratly Islands entitled it to a 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

Without mentioning The Hague ruling, China's Supreme Court said its judicial interpretation of the South China Sea was in accordance with both Chinese law and the United Nations' Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

"Judicial power is an important component of national sovereignty," the Supreme Court said.

"People's courts will actively exercise jurisdiction over China's territorial waters, support administrative departments to legally perform maritime management duties ... and safeguard Chinese territorial sovereignty and maritime interests."

Jurisdictional seas covered by the interpretation include contiguous zones, exclusive economic zones and continental shelves, it added.

People who illegally enter Chinese territorial waters and refuse to leave after being driven out, or who re-enter after being driven away or being fined in the past year, will be considered to have committed "serious" criminal acts and could get up to a year in jail, the Supreme Court said.

"The explanation offers legal guarantees for marine fishing law enforcement," it added.

China, which claims parts of the South China Sea that belong to Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Taiwan, a well as maritime territory belonging to Indonesia, keeps attacking fishermen from the Philippines and Vietnam even as it continues military development of artificial islands there.

The Philippines filed a suit against China at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, which handed down a decisive victory for the Philippines in July, which the Chinese government has vowed to ignore.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of trade moves annually. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims.

The reaction against the Philippines for the Hague loss has been mild compared to that against America and Japan, especially in Chinese media.

Chinese media claims a Japanese former Hague judge was behind the ruling against China and has called both the governments of Japan and the United States ''eunuchs.''

This prodded Chinese citizens into smashing their American iPhones and protesting in front of the American fast food chain KFC, accusing its patrons as traitors of China.

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