This photo taken on Dec. 11, 2015 shows uniquely beautiful winter scenery of the Zhaoshu Island in theSouth China Sea. (Xinhua file photo/Zhao Yingquan)
BEIJING, April 26 (Xinhua) -- The history of Chinese people living and working on the South China Sea islands dates back to China's Han Dynasty some 2,000 years ago.
In several documents from the Han Dynasty and Jin Dynasty (266-420 AD), historians described scenes of ancient Chinese fishermen fishing and collecting coral and pearls in the South China Sea area.
In Brush Talks from Dream Brook, an encyclopedia written by Shen Kuo in China's Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD), the author referred to "Che Qu," a kind of unusually big and rare clam in the South China Sea.
By late Song dynasty about 1,000 years ago, the Chinese people had reached a relatively high level in the exploration of fish resources in the area.
Over a long period of time, fishermen from China's various coastal regions go fishing and carry out other exploration activities in the South China Sea in an organized manner.
The South China Sea, including the Nansha Islands, has been a traditional fishing ground for Chinese fishermen, who sail along the monsoon to go to the waters to fish every year, and have the islands in the Sea as their bases.
In recent years, archeologists have discovered on the Xisha Islands and Nansha Islands a large amount of relics of residences and household appliances from China's Tang (618-907 AD) and Song (960-1279 AD) dynasties, such as ceramics, iron knives and iron pots.
"Geng Lu Book," which was written between China's Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 AD), recorded Chinese fishermen's fishing route at that time from the Qing Lan port and Tan Men port of China's Hainan Province to the islands and reefs of Xisha and Nansha.
In as early as the 15th and 16th centuries, Chinese fishermen from Hainan Island not only used the South China Sea islands as their fishery bases, but also built houses and reclaimed land for farming on the islands. Many relics of structures from China's Ming and Qing dynasties, including temples made of coral, wells and tombs, can be seen on those islands.
Also in that period of time, Chinese fishermen gradually achieved massive fishing operations in the region. And in the early 19th century, part of their sea products began to be shipped directly to Singapore for sale.
In the early 20th century, top shells and guano became important aviation and chemical materials. Since 1910, Chinese merchants have been engaged in large-scale production of top shells on the Nansha Islands and shipped them to Singapore for sale.
During the Republic of China period (1912-1949 AD), with permission from the then Chinese government, Chinese businessmen ran franchises on resources of the South China Sea islands, including bird droppings.
The South China Sea is home to the Chinese people. For thousands of years, Chinese people have used the South China Sea and the islands in it as their living and working place, and have undertaken various kinds of exploitation activities there. The Chinese people always cherish a fond feeling for the South China Sea, rely on it, love it and will continue live with it in coexistence.
As a matter of fact, for quite a long period of time after World War II (WWII), no country had challenged China's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and related rights in the South China Sea, long recognized by the international community, including the United States, Japan and France. Full story
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"There is ample legal basis for China not to participate in or accept the unilaterally-initiated process," he told a joint press conference with his Cambodian counterpart Prak Sokhonn.Full Story