South China Sea islands elect leaders

By Lu Chen Source:Global Times Published: 2012-7-24 10:05:23

Sansha, a prefectural-level city established in June to administer Xisha, Zhongsha, Nansha islands and the surrounding waters in the South China Sea, tightened approvals for tourists to go offshore, as the city elected its first mayor and the head of its legislative body on Monday.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, Xiao Jie, 51, head of the Hainan Provincial Agriculture Department, was elected mayor of the city in the first session of the first Sansha Municipal People's Congress held on Yongxing Island, the government seat of Sansha.

Fu Zhuang, 56, deputy director of Hainan Provincial Civil Air Defense Office, was elected director of the standing committee of the Sansha Municipal People's Congress, the city's legislative body.

The legislative conference elected three deputy mayors, heads of the city's intermediate people's court and procuratorate. It also elected five members of the standing committee of the Sansha Municipal People's Congress.

Xiao said the Sansha government will be dedicated to administrative management and environment protection.

Forty-five deputies attended the first session of the first Sansha Municipal People's Congress and cast the ballots that elected the leaders. 

The 45 deputies, from the Xisha, Nansha and Zhongsha islands, were elected Saturday by 1,100 residents from the islands.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV reported that in order to ensure that the founding ceremony goes smoothly only official boats are permitted near Yongxing Island.
The report said the new government of Sansha is expected to be sworn  in the coming days.

Prior to the new restriction, travel agencies in Haikou, Hainan Province, sent tourists to Xisha and Yongxing islands via fishing or supply boats in the past.

"The four-day trip to Yongxing Island has stopped recently, probably because of the inauguration ceremony of Sansha's new government. We are not clear about the specific reason why tourists are not allowed to go to the island," a woman from a travel agency in Haikou, who was not identified, said in the television report.

A worker, surnamed Wu, with the Qinglan Port in Hainan Province confirmed the news reports that the number of tourists traveling to the area on local vessels has dropped recently.

"The measure is aimed at preventing too many people from flocking to Yongxing Island, which may not be able to accommodate large crowds," Zhuang Guotu, dean of the School for Southeast Asian Studies at Xiamen University in Fujian Province, told the Global Times on Monday.

Xinhua contributed to this story

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