88% support govt South China Sea stance

By Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2016/7/11 0:33:00

Majority approve of non-acceptance of arbitration

A Global Times poll has found that over 96 percent of respondents have no fear of US pressure on the South China Sea issue, with more than 88 percent saying they support the Chinese government's non-acceptance, non-participation attitude toward the upcoming UN arbitration ruling.

The survey was conducted by the Global Times Global Poll Center through phone interviews and online polls from Thursday to Sunday, a few days before the UN arbitration court's ruling on the South China Sea case on Tuesday. The survey interviewed 1,423 respondents over 18 in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xi'an, Changsha, Shenyang and Hainan.

The results show nearly 85 percent of respondents have heard about the arbitration over the South China Sea dispute and an overwhelming 88.1 percent say they support the government's decision of non-acceptance and non-participation.

"The arbitration is unfair for it was brought up unilaterally by the Philippines without even notifying China. The fact that a Japanese judge had a huge influence on the court made it look worse as Japan is eager to gain from the sea disputes and there is a huge conflict of interest," Gu Xiaosong, an expert on Southeast Asian studies at the Guangxi Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Shunji Yanai, who was then-president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, selected four out of five judges for the tribunal, the Japan Times reported. Of the five, four are Europeans, and one is from Africa.

The government of outgoing Philippine President Benigno Aquino III filed the arbitration against China in 2013, despite the agreement his country had reached with China on resolving their South China Sea disputes through bilateral negotiations.

Some 66 percent condemned the arbitration as a violation of China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, while 68.8 percent of the respondents believe that the US is pulling strings behind the arbitration and poses a threat to regional peace and stability

Moreover, over 50 percent of respondents regard this arbitration as "an abuse of international laws" by certain countries and "a political farce under the name of the law." 

"The arbitration is a political plot through which some countries want to challenge our sovereignty over the South China Sea," Liu Feng, an expert on Chinese maritime issues, told the Global Times.

Consolidating rights

The results show 90.3 percent support for China's nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea.

Gu said that the nine-dash line serves as the perimeter of the historically consolidated right of traditional Chinese fishermen in the South China Sea, which has a valid basis in international law and deserves to be protected.

In the poll, 96.1 percent claimed they are not afraid of the pressure from the US on the South China Sea issue, while 95.2 percent support China's constructions on islands and reefs in the South China Sea.

"Building facilities [on islands and reefs in South China Sea] is a way of asserting our sovereignty over this area," said Liu, "also it improves living conditions for our soldiers and officers who live on these islands and reefs."

Construction activities such as building lighthouses are also ways of fulfilling our obligation as a responsible country, Liu said.

"The public's opinion is very important as it serves as an important signal for the government's next stage policy-making process," He Hui, a professor at the School of International Journalism and Communication of Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times.

"With public support, the Chinese government can mobilize more resources, politically, economically and militarily, in counter moves," He said.

As the result of the arbitration over the South China Sea dispute approaches, China has been undertaking a military drill from July 5 to 11 in waters around the Xisha Islands.

Newspaper headline: 88% support govt sea stance

Posted in: Diplomacy, Society

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