tirsdag 19. mars 2024

In the busy waters between China and Taiwan, the de facto border is being tested

Motoring across the calm waters of the South China Sea, Taiwanese captain Lu Wen-shiung recalls the old days, when Chinese and Taiwanese fishers used to meet behind rocky headlands, anchoring their boats out of the authorities’ sight, to share a meal. There was less surveillance then, and the two sides were more friendly, fishing the same waters, occasionally selling to each other on the sly.

“We were like brothers, we had a good relationship, they would even cook for us,” he says. “But … now the control has become more strict, the [Chinese] coast guard will call me if the boats are too close.”

Now a tour boat captain, Lu says if he even gets close to the prohibited water line – a de facto sea border with China – he’ll get a swift warning over the radio from the coast guard. Lu and his boat are travelling through the busy waters surrounding Kinmen County, an archipelago controlled by Taiwan but sitting just kilometres away from China. The Chinese Communist party government claims Taiwan (including Kinmen) as a Chinese province, and has become increasingly hostile in its pursuit of annexation, as Taiwan’s government and people only grow more opposed.