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China Announces the Draft Maritime Police Law

On November 4, the Chinese legislature — the National People’s Congress —announced the draft of the Maritime Police Law. This draft stipulates the tasks and rights of the Chinese coast guard when carrying out surveillance activities in the waters surrounding China. It stipulates that the China Coast Guard has the authority to remove or interrogate forcibly those who are on foreign ships illegally entering China’s territorial waters.

The draft further states that if a foreign vessel conducts illegal activities in the waters under China’s jurisdiction and does not obey the order, the coast guard can use weapons to enforce the law. Regarding the maritime police’s law enforcement area, in addition to China’s territorial waters, the draft also includes the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf.

Chinese Coast Guard ships have repeatedly invaded Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa County, where China claimed sovereignty, and have even followed Japanese fishing boats.

China has included the Coast Guard in the Armed Police Force, which is under the jurisdiction of the Chinese military. With the introduction of large ships, the coast guard may further strengthen its maritime activities in the future. The outside world is worried that after the Maritime Police Law is enacted, the Chinese coast guard ships will affect Japanese fishing boats operating in the waters around the Senkaku Islands.

Source: NHK Chinese, November 4, 2020