South China

South China (simplified Chinese: 华南; traditional Chinese: 華南; pinyin: Huánán) is a geographical and cultural region that covers the southernmost part of China. Its precise meaning varies with context.

Southern China map-1
Dark red: 3 Southernmost provinces of China, usually considered to be "core" South China
Medium Red: South China according to the 1945–1949 definition
Light Red: Southern China (A much broader area named Nanfang in Mandarin)

Administrative divisions

GB[1] ISO №[2] Province Chinese Name Capital Population Density Area Abbreviation/Symbol
GD 44 Guangdong Province 广东省
Guǎngdōng Shěng
Guangzhou 104,303,132 579.46 180,000
Yuè
GX 45 Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region 广西壮族自治区
Guǎngxī Zhuàngzú Zìzhìqū
Nanning 46,026,629 195.02 236,000
Guì
HI 46 Hainan Province 海南省
Hǎinán Shěng
Haikou 8,671,518 255.04 34,000
Qióng
HK 91 Hong Kong Special Administrative Region 香港特别行政区
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Hong Kong 7,061,200 6,396.01 1,104
Kong
MC 92 Macau Special Administrative Region 澳门特别行政区
Àomén Tèbié Xíngzhèngqū
Macau 552,300 19,044.82 29
Ào

Cities with urban area over one million in population

# City Urban area[3] District area[3] City proper[3] Prov. Census date
1 Shenzhen 10,358,381 10,358,381 10,358,381 GD 2010-11-01
2 Guangzhou 9,702,144 11,071,424 12,701,948 GD 2010-11-01
3 Dongguan 7,271,322 8,220,207 8,220,207 GD 2010-11-01
4 Hong Kong[4] 7,071,576 7,071,576 7,071,576 HK 2011-06-30
5 Foshan 6,771,895 7,197,394 7,197,394 GD 2010-11-01
6 Shantou 3,644,017 5,329,024 5,389,328 GD 2010-11-01
7 Zhongshan 2,740,994 3,121,275 3,121,275 GD 2010-11-01
8 Nanning 2,660,833 3,434,303 6,658,742 GX 2010-11-01
9 Huizhou 1,807,858 2,344,634 4,598,402 GD 2010-11-01
10 Haikou 1,517,410 2,046,170 2,046,170 HI 2010-11-01
11 Jiangmen 1,480,023 1,822,614 4,450,703 GD 2010-11-01
12 Liuzhou 1,410,712 1,436,599 3,758,704 GX 2010-11-01
13 Zhuhai 1,369,538 1,562,530 1,562,530 GD 2010-11-01
14 Zhanjiang 1,038,762 1,611,868 6,994,832 GD 2010-11-01

See also

References

  1. ^ GB/T 2260 codes for the provinces of China
  2. ^ ISO 3166-2:CN (ISO 3166-2 codes for the provinces of China)
  3. ^ a b c 国务院人口普查办公室; 国家统计局人口和社会科技统计司, eds. (2012). 中国2010年人口普查分县资料. Beijing: 中国统计出版社 [China Statistics Press]. ISBN 978-7-5037-6659-6.
  4. ^ Census and Statistics Department, ed. (2012). 香港2011年人口普查 - 主要報告. Hong Kong: Government Logistics Department.
2014 Hong Kong protests

A series of sit-in street protests, often called the Umbrella Revolution (雨傘革命) and sometimes used interchangeably with Umbrella Movement (雨傘運動), or Occupy Movement (佔領行動), occurred in Hong Kong from 26 September to 15 December 2014.The protests began after the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) issued a decision regarding proposed reforms to the Hong Kong electoral system. The decision was widely seen to be highly restrictive, and tantamount to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)'s pre-screening of the candidates for the Chief Executive of Hong Kong.Students led a strike against the NPCSC's decision beginning on 22 September 2014, and the Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholarism started protesting outside the government headquarters on 26 September 2014. On 28 September, events developed rapidly. The Occupy Central with Love and Peace movement announced the beginning of their civil disobedience campaign. Students and other members of the public demonstrated outside government headquarters, and some began to occupy several major city intersections. Protesters blocked both east–west arterial routes in northern Hong Kong Island near Admiralty. Police tactics – including the use of tear gas – and triad attacks on protesters led more citizens to join the protests and to occupy Causeway Bay and Mong Kok. The number of protesters peaked at more than 100,000 at any given time, overwhelming the police thus causing containment errors.Government officials in Hong Kong and in Beijing denounced the occupation as "illegal" and a "violation of the rule of law", and Chinese state media and officials claimed repeatedly that the West had played an "instigating" role in the protests, and warned of "deaths and injuries and other grave consequences." The protests precipitated a rift in Hong Kong society, and galvanised youth – a previously apolitical section of society – into political activism or heightened awareness of their civil rights and responsibilities. Not only were there fist fights at occupation sites and flame wars on social media, family members found themselves on different sides of the conflict.Key areas in Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok were occupied and remained closed to traffic for 77 days. Despite numerous incidents of intimidation and violence by triads and thugs, particularly in Mong Kok, and several attempts at clearance by the police, suffragists held their ground for over two months. After the Mong Kok occupation site was cleared with some scuffles on 25 November, Admiralty and Causeway Bay were cleared with no opposition on 11 and 14 December, respectively.

The Hong Kong government's use of the police and courts to resolve political issues led to accusations that these institutions had been turned into political tools, thereby compromising the police and judicial system in the territory and eroding the rule of law in favour of "rule by law". At times violent police action during the occupation was widely perceived to have damaged the reputation of what was once recognised as one of the most efficient, honest and impartial police forces in the Asia Pacific region. The protests ended without any political concessions from the government, but instead triggered rhetoric from Chief Executive of Hong Kong CY Leung and mainland officials about rule of law and patriotism, and an assault on academic freedoms and civil liberties of activists.

2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests

The 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests are a series of demonstrations in Hong Kong against an extradition bill proposed by the government of Hong Kong. If enacted, the bill would allow local authorities to detain and extradite people who are wanted in territories that Hong Kong does not have extradition agreements with, including mainland China and Taiwan. Some fear the bill would place Hong Kongers and visitors under mainland Chinese jurisdiction, undermining the autonomy of the region and citizens' rights.Demonstrations against the bill began in March and April, but escalated in June. Hundreds of thousands of people marched in protests of the bill on 9 June. Protests on 12 June, the day the bill was scheduled to a second reading in the Legislative Council, marked a sharp escalation in violence. Riot police employed tear gas and rubber bullets against demonstrators. Subsequently, investigations into police behaviour and greater accountability for their actions became part of protestor demands. A larger march occurred on 16 June.On 1 July, hundreds of thousands of people participated in the annual July marches. A portion of these demonstrators split from the march and broke into the Legislative Council Complex, vandalising central government symbols.Chief Executive Carrie Lam suspended the extradition bill on 15 June, saying it was "dead" on 9 July. She did not say the bill would be fully withdrawn. Executive Council members Regina Ip and Bernard Charnwut Chan said that the government does not intend to make further concessions.Protests continued through the summer, escalating into increasingly violent confrontations, including the 22 July 2019 Yuen Long attack, between police, activists, pro-Beijing triad members, and local residents in over 20 different neighbourhoods throughout the region. As demonstrations continue, protestors are calling for an independent inquiry on police brutality, the release of arrested protesters, a retraction of the official characterisation of the protests as "riots", and direct elections to choose Legislative Council members and the Chief Executive.

Carrie Lam

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, GBM, GBS (Chinese: 林鄭月娥; Cantonese Yale: Làhm Jehng Yuht-ngòh; née Cheng, born 13 May 1957) is a Hong Kong politician serving as the 4th and current Chief Executive of Hong Kong since 2017. She served as the Chief Secretary for Administration, the most senior principal official, from 2012 to 2017, and as Secretary for Development from 2007 to 2012.

After graduating from the University of Hong Kong, Lam joined the British Hong Kong civil service in 1980 and served in various government agencies. She became a key official in 2007 when she was appointed Secretary for Development. During her tenure, she earned the nickname "tough fighter" for her role in the controversial demolition of the Queen's Pier.

She became Chief Secretary for Administration under the Leung Chun-ying administration in 2012. From 2013 to 2015, Lam headed the Task Force on Constitutional Development for the 2014 Hong Kong electoral reform and held talks with student and opposition leaders during the widespread protests. In the 2017 Chief Executive election, Lam won the three-way election with 777 votes of the 1,194-member Election Committee as the Beijing-favoured candidate, becoming the first female Chief Executive in Hong Kong history.

Lam's administration has been mired in numerous controversies, including the trial and imprisonment of activists as well as the disqualification of several pro-democracy candidates and the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party. Her government also received criticism for raising the age of threshold for the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance welfare scheme and the handling of the cross-harbour tunnel toll plan, among other policies.

In mid 2019, Lam’s government pushed for the controversial amendment to the extradition law. The widespread opposition to the bill and Lam's hardline approach on the issue sparked massive protests attended by nearly two million protesters who called for the withdrawal of the bill and her resignation, which led to the indefinite suspension of the bill. However, protests have continued throughout the summer as protestors renewed demands for the complete withdrawal of the bill, free elections, an independent inquiry on police brutality, the release of arrested protesters and for the government to retract the characterization of the protests as "riots".

Guangdong

Guangdong (also known as Canton Province and alternately romanized as Kwangtung) is a coastal province in South China on the north shore of South China Sea. Its capital of the province is Guangzhou. With a population of 113.46 million (as of 2018

) across a total area of about 179,800 km2 (69,400 sq mi), Guangdong is the most populous province of China and the 15th-largest by area. Its economy is larger than that of any other province in the nation and the 6th largest sub-national economy in the world with a GDP size of 1.47 trillion US dollars (9.73 trillion Chinese yuan) in 2018. The Pearl River Delta Economic Zone, a Chinese megalopolis, is a core for high technology, manufacturing and foreign trade. Located in this zone, are two of the four top Chinese cities, and the top two Chinese prefecture-level cities by GDP; Guangzhou, the capital of the province, and Shenzhen, the first special economic zone in the country. These two are among the most populous and important cities in China, and have now become two of the world's most populous megacities.

The province of Guangdong surpassed Henan and Shandong to become the most populous province in China in January 2005, registering 79.1 million permanent residents and 31 million migrants who lived in the province for at least six months of the year; the total population was 104,303,132 in the 2010 census, accounting for 7.79 percent of Mainland China's population. This makes it the most populous first-level administrative subdivision of any country outside of South Asia, as its population is surpassed only by those of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the Indian states of Bihar, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. Its population increase since the census has been modest, the province registering 108,500,000 people in 2015.

Most of the historical Guangdong Province is administered by the People's Republic of China (PRC). However, the archipelagos of Pratas in the South China Sea are controlled by the Republic of China (ROC, a.k.a. Taiwan), and were previously part of Guangdong Province before the Chinese Civil War.Guangdong has a highly diversified economy. Since 1989, Guangdong has topped the total GDP rankings among all provincial-level divisions, with Jiangsu and Shandong second and third in rank. As of 2018, Guangdong's GDP reached 1.47 trillion US dollars (CNY 9.73 trillion), exceeding that of Spain with GDP of 1.43 trillion US dollars, the 13th largest in the world. The province contributes approximately 12% of the total economic output of mainland China, and is home to the production facilities and offices of a wide-ranging set of Chinese and foreign corporations. Guangdong has benefited from its proximity to the financial hub of Hong Kong, which it borders to the south. Guangdong also hosts the largest import and export fair in China, the Canton Fair, hosted in the provincial capital of Guangzhou.

After the unification of Lingnan region in the Qin Dynasty, the immigrants from the Central Plains moved in and formed the local culture with a unique style. With the outward movement of the Guangdong people, the Hakka and Cantonese languages, music, cuisine, opera and tea ceremony have been spread throughout the nation, Southeast Asia and other countries. The two special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao fall within the scope of Guangdong cultural influence, and Guangdong culture still has profound influences on the Chinese in Singapore and Malaysia.

Gulf of Thailand

The Gulf of Thailand, also known as the Gulf of Siam, is a shallow inlet in the western part of the South China Sea, a marginal body of water in the western Pacific Ocean. The gulf is around 800 km (497 mi) long and up to 560 km (348 mi) wide, has a surface area of 320,000 km2 (123,553 sq mi) and is surrounded on the north, west and southwest by Thailand, on the northeast by Cambodia and Vietnam. The South China Sea is to the southeast.

Gulf of Tonkin

The Gulf of Tonkin (Vietnamese: Vịnh Bắc Bộ, simplified Chinese: 北部湾; traditional Chinese: 北部灣; formerly known as 东京湾/東京灣 during ROC period) is a body of water located off the coast of northern Vietnam and southern China. It is a northern arm of the South China Sea. The Gulf is defined in the west by the northern coastline of Vietnam, in the north by China's Guangxi province, and to the east by China's Leizhou Peninsula and Hainan Island.

Hainan

Hainan (海南) is a province in South China located in the South China Sea. It is the smallest and southernmost province of Mainland China, consisting of various islands in the South Sea. Hainan Island, separated from Guangdong's Leizhou Peninsula by the Qiongzhou Strait, is the largest and most populous island under PRC control and makes up the majority of the province. The name of the island and the province, Hainan, means "South of the Sea", reflecting its position south of the Qiongzhou Strait.

The province has an area of 33,920 square kilometers (13,100 sq mi), with Hainan Island making up 32,900 square kilometers (12,700 sq mi) (97%) and the rest divided among 200 islands scattered across three archipelagos. It was administered as part of Guangdong from 1950 to 1988, when it became a separate province; around the same time, it was made the largest Special Economic Zone established by Deng Xiaoping as part of the Chinese economic reform.

The Li people, a Kra–Dai speaking ethnic group, are native to the island, and are a significant minority group in the province, comprising 15% of the population. Their native languages include the Hlai languages. They are recognized by the Chinese government as one of the country's 55 ethnic groups. The Han population, who compose a majority of the population at 82%, speak a group of Min Chinese varieties known as Hainanese.There are a total of ten major cities and ten counties in Hainan Province. The capital of the province is Haikou, on the northern coast of Hainan Island, while Sanya is a well-known tourist destination on the southern coast. The other major cities are Wenchang, Qionghai, Wanning, Wuzhishan, Dongfang, and Danzhou.

According to China's territorial claims several territories in the South China Sea, including the Spratly Islands (Nansha) and Paracel Islands (Xisha), are notionally administered as Sansha city of the province.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong ( (listen); Chinese: 香港, Hong Kong Cantonese: [hœ́ːŋ.kɔ̌ːŋ] (listen)), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is a special administrative region on the eastern side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China. With over 7.4 million people of various nationalities in a 1,104-square-kilometre (426 sq mi) territory, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places in the world.

Originally a sparsely populated area of farming and fishing villages, Hong Kong island became a colony of the British Empire at the end of the First Opium War in 1842, followed by Kowloon in 1860 after the Second Opium War, and the modern territory was compeleted in 1898 with a 99 year British lease over the New Territories, which comprise 86% of Hong Kong's land. Sovereignty over the territory was restored to China in 1997. As a special administrative region, Hong Kong maintains governing and economic systems separate from those of mainland China. Its people tend to identify as Hongkongers rather than Chinese.Today the territory has become one of the world's most significant financial centres and commercial ports. It was estimated to be the world's tenth-largest exporter, ninth-largest importer, and seventh-largest trading entity, and its legal tender (the Hong Kong dollar) is the world's 13th-most traded currency. Hong Kong hosts the largest concentration of ultra high-net-worth individuals of any city in the world, and has one of the worlds's highest per capita incomes, but it also has severe income inequality.Hong Kong is classified as an alpha+ global city, indicating its influence throughout the world. It is one of the most significant global financial centres, holding the highest Financial Development Index score and consistently ranking as the most competitive and freest economic area in the world in 2012, 2016, and 2017. The city has the largest number of skyscrapers, most surrounding Victoria Harbour. It consistently ranks high on the Human Development Index, and has one of the world's highest life expectancies. Over 90 percent of its population uses public transportation; however, air pollution from neighbouring industrial areas of mainland China has caused a high level of atmospheric particulates in the region.

Nine-Dash Line

The Nine-Dash Line—at various times also referred to as the "10-dash line" and the "11-dash line"—refers to the undefined, vaguely located, demarcation line used initially by the Republic of China (1912–1949) and subsequently the governments of the Republic of China (ROC / Taiwan) and the People's Republic of China (PRC), for their claims of the major part of the South China Sea. The contested area in the South China Sea includes the Paracel Islands, the Spratly Islands, and various other areas including the Pratas Islands, the Macclesfield Bank and the Scarborough Shoal. The claim encompasses the area of Chinese land reclamation known as the "Great Wall of Sand".An early map showing a U-shaped eleven-dash line was published in the then-Republic of China on 1 November 1947. Two of the dashes in the Gulf of Tonkin were later removed at the behest of Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, reducing the total to nine. Subsequent editions added a dash to the other end of the line, extending it into the East China Sea.Despite having made the vague claim public in 1947, China has not (as of 2018) filed a formal and specifically defined claim to the area within the dashes. China added a tenth-dash line to the east of Taiwan island in 2013 as a part of its official sovereignty claim to the disputed territories in the South China Sea.On 12 July 2016, an arbitral tribunal constituted under Annex VII to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea ruled that China has no legal basis to claim "historic rights" within its nine-dash line in a case brought by the Philippines. The tribunal judged that there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or resources within the Nine-Dash Line. The ruling was rejected by both Taiwan and China.

Northern and southern China

Northern China (Chinese: 中国北方 or 中国北部; literally: 'China's North') and southern China (Chinese: 中国南方 or 中国南部; literally: 'China's South'), are two approximate mega-regions within China. The exact boundary between these two regions is not precisely defined. Nevertheless, the self-perception of Chinese nation, especially regional stereotypes, has often been dominated by these two concepts, given that regional differences in culture and language have historically fostered strong regional identities of the Chinese people.

Pearl River (China)

The Pearl River, also known by its Chinese name Zhujiang (Chu Kiang) and formerly often known as the Canton River, is an extensive river system in southern China. The name "Pearl River" is also often used as a catch-all for the watersheds of the Xi ("West"), Bei ("North"), and Dong ("East") rivers of Guangdong. These rivers are all considered tributaries of the Pearl River because they share a common delta, the Pearl River Delta. Measured from the farthest reaches of the Xi River, the Pearl River system is China's third-longest river, 2,400 kilometres (1,500 mi), after the Yangtze River and the Yellow River, and second largest by volume, after the Yangtze. The 409,480-square-kilometre (158,100 sq mi) Pearl River Basin (珠江流域) drains the majority of Liangguang (Guangdong and Guangxi provinces), as well as parts of Yunnan, Guizhou, Hunan and Jiangxi in China; it also drains northern parts of Vietnam's Northeast Cao Bằng and Lạng Sơn provinces.

As well as referring to the system as a whole, the Pearl River (Zhu Jiang) name is also applied to a specific branch within the system. This Pearl River is the widest distributary within the delta, although notably short. The waters that converge east of the Bei Jiang are first referred to as the Pearl River just north of Guangzhou. The Pearl River is famed as the river that flows through Guangzhou. The Pearl River's estuary, Bocca Tigris, is regularly dredged so as to keep it open for ocean vessels. The mouth of the Pearl River forms a large bay in the southeast of the delta, the Pearl River Estuary, the Bocca Tigris separates Shiziyang in the north, Lingdingyang in the south, and Jiuzhouyang at the southern tip of the estuary surrounded by the Wanshan Archipelago. This bay separates Macau and Zhuhai from Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

The Pearl River is so named because of the pearl-colored shells that lie at the bottom of the river in the section that flows through the city of Guangzhou.

A 500 kV-power line, suspended from three of the tallest pylons in the world, the Pylons of Pearl River Crossing, crosses the river near its mouth.

Zhujiang Brewery, one of the three largest domestic breweries in China, is located on the Pearl River Delta within the city of Guangzhou.

Peninsular Malaysia

Peninsular Malaysia, also known as Malaya or West Malaysia, is the part of Malaysia which lies on the Malay Peninsula and surrounding islands. Its area is 132,265 square kilometres (51,068 sq mi), which is nearly 40% of the total area of the country - or slightly larger than England (130,395 km²). It shares a land border with Thailand to the north and Singapore at the southernmost tip.Across the Strait of Malacca to the west lies the Sumatra Island (Indonesia) and across the South China Sea to the east lies the Natuna Islands (Indonesia). Peninsular Malaysia accounts for the majority (roughly 81.3%) of Malaysia's population and economy; as of 2017 its population is roughly 26 million (92% of total population).

Philippines v. China

Philippines v. China (PCA case number 2013–19), also known as the South China Sea Arbitration, was an arbitration case brought by the Republic of the Philippines against the People's Republic of China under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) concerning certain issues in the South China Sea including the legality of China's Nine-dash line.On 19 February 2013, China declared that it would not participate in the arbitration.

On 7 December 2014, a white paper was published by China to elaborate its position. On 29 October 2015, the arbitral tribunal ruled that it has jurisdiction over the case, taking up seven of the 15 submissions made by the Philippines.On 12 July 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Philippines. It clarified that it would not "...rule on any question of sovereignty over land territory and would not delimit any maritime boundary between the Parties". The tribunal also ruled that China has "no historical rights" based on the "nine-dash line" map. China has rejected the ruling, as has Taiwan.

South China AA

South China Athletic Association (also known as South China, SCAA, Chinese: 南華體育會) is a football club which currently competes in the Hong Kong First Division, the second-level league in Hong Kong football league system. The club has won a record 41 First Division titles, a record 31 Senior Shields, a record 10 FA Cups and 3 League Cups.

Nicknamed "Shaolin Temple" and "Caroliners", South China has produced many great Hong Kong footballers over the years. In November 2007, the club entered into a charity partnership with Hong Kong Red Cross. The partnership is a pioneer between a sports association and a humanitarian organisation in Hong Kong.

South China Morning Post

The South China Morning Post (also known as SCMP or The Post), with its Sunday edition, the Sunday Morning Post, is a Hong Kong English-language newspaper founded in 1903. It is Hong Kong's newspaper of record, owned by Alibaba Group. The journal was founded by Australian-born anti-Qing dynasty revolutionary Tse Tsan-tai and British journalist Alfred Cunningham (formerly with China Mail, Hong Kong Daily Press and New York Sun), with the first edition of the paper published on 6 November 1903. The journal's circulation has been relatively stable for years—the average daily circulation stood at 100,000 in 2016.

It was owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation until it was acquired by Malaysian real estate tycoon Robert Kuok in 1993. On 5 April 2016, Alibaba Group acquired the media properties of the SCMP Group, including the South China Morning Post.The "China-focused" Chinese version of South China Morning Post nanzao.com is closed.

South China Sea

The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Karimata and Malacca straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around 3,500,000 square kilometres (1,400,000 sq mi). The sea carries tremendous strategic importance; one-third of the world's shipping passes through it, carrying over $3 trillion in trade each year, it contains lucrative fisheries, which are crucial for the food security of millions in Southeast Asia. Huge oil and gas reserves are believed to lie beneath its seabed.According to International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition (1953), it is located

south of China;

east of Vietnam;

west of the Philippines;

east of the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra, up to the Strait of Singapore in the western, and

north of the Bangka Belitung Islands and BorneoHowever, in its unapproved draft 4th edition (1986), IHO proposed the Natuna Sea, thus the South China Sea southern boundary was shifted northward, from north of the Bangka Belitung Islands to

north and northeast of Natuna Islands.The minute South China Sea Islands, collectively an archipelago, number in the hundreds. The sea and its mostly uninhabited islands are subject to competing claims of sovereignty by several countries. These claims are also reflected in the variety of names used for the islands and the sea.

Southwest China

Southwest China (Chinese: 西南; pinyin: Xīnán) is a region of the People's Republic of China defined by governmental bureaus that includes the municipality of Chongqing, the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou, and the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Spratly Islands

The Spratly Islands (Chinese: 南沙群岛 (Nánshā Qúndǎo), Malay: Kepulauan Spratly, Tagalog: Kapuluan ng Kalayaan, Vietnamese: Quần đảo Trường Sa) are a disputed archipelago in the South China Sea. Composed of islands, islets and cays and more than 100 reefs, sometimes grouped in submerged old atolls, the archipelago lies off the coasts of the Philippines, Malaysia, and southern Vietnam. Named after the 19th-century British whaling captain Richard Spratly who sighted Spratly Island in 1843, the islands contain less than 2 km2 (490 acres) of naturally occurring land area spread over an area of more than 425,000 km2 (164,000 sq mi).

The Spratlys are one of the major archipelagos in the South China Sea which complicate governance and economics in this part of Southeast Asia due to their location in strategic shipping lanes. The islands have no indigenous inhabitants, but offer rich fishing grounds and may contain significant oil and natural gas reserves, and as such are important to the claimants in their attempts to establish international boundaries. Some of the islands have civilian settlements, but of the approximately 45 islands, cays, reefs and shoals that are occupied, all contain structures that are occupied by military forces from Malaysia, Taiwan (ROC), China (PRC), the Philippines and Vietnam. Additionally, Brunei has claimed an exclusive economic zone in the southeastern part of the Spratlys, which includes the uninhabited Louisa Reef.

Territorial disputes in the South China Sea

The South China Sea disputes involve both island and maritime claims among several sovereign states within the region, namely Brunei, the People's Republic of China (PRC), Republic of China (ROC/Taiwan), Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. An estimated US$3,37 trillion worth of global trade passes through the South China Sea annually, which accounts for a third of the global maritime trade. 80 percent of China´s energy imports and 39.5 percent of China´s total trade passes through the South China Sea.The disputes include the islands, reefs, banks, and other features of the South China Sea, including the Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands, Scarborough Shoal, and various boundaries in the Gulf of Tonkin. There are further disputes, including the waters near the Indonesian Natuna Islands, which many do not regard as part of the South China Sea. Claimant states are interested in retaining or acquiring the rights to fishing stocks, the exploration and potential exploitation of crude oil and natural gas in the seabed of various parts of the South China Sea, and the strategic control of important shipping lanes.

Since 2013, the People´s Republic of China has resorted to island building in the Spratly Islands and the Paracel Islands region. These actions have been met with a wide international condemnation, and since 2015 the United States and other states such as France and the United Kingdom have conducted freedom of navigation operations (FONOP) in the region. In July 2016, an arbitration tribunal constituted under Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) ruled against the PRC's maritime claims in Philippines v. China. The tribunal did not rule on the ownership of the islands or delimit maritime boundaries. The People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan) stated that they did not recognize the tribunal and insisted that the matter should be resolved through bilateral negotiations with other claimants.

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