Chinese Flag, Chinese Mining Rights

China said Thursday its domestically-made manned submersible had successfully reached 3,759 meters below sea level with three crew on board, China Radio International (CRI) quotes Chinese sources. The submersible made seventeen dives in the South China Sea, from May to July, according to the report.

One of the accompanying photos shows a red flag being planted at the bottom of the South China Sea.

The vessel named Jiao Long (蛟龙号), apparently after a mythical flood dragon, fish, or mermaid, caught foreign media attention, writes Huanqiu Shibao. The New York Times, according to the Chinese paper, compared the Chinese operation with one by Russia in 2007, when a Russian flag was planted on the seabed below the North Pole. The Russian operation then had intensified contradictions between Russia and other claimants on the Polar area. USA Today, also according to Huanqiu Shibao, pointed out that planting a flag traditionally symbolized a claim on territory, and that this was meant as a signal to other neighboring countries with claims in the South China Sea area.

Huanqiu Shibao quotes Song Xiaojun (宋晓军), a Chinese military commentator with CCTV, as a well-known Chinese commentator on military affairs, as saying that the Jiaolong operation was searching for high sea resources, but as America and other countries hadn’t seized those by themselves, they now made accusations against China (中国著名军事评论家宋晓军在接受环球网采访时表示,中国此次行动其实是为了寻找公海资源,而美国等媒体主要也是因为自己“没抢着”才有了对中国的这番横加指责). In international waters, the mining rights went to those who took a place first (谁先占到谁就拥有开采权). America, Japan, France, Russia and other countries all operated in a similar way.


Hermit: the Stupid Little Mermaid, March 12, 2009
Russia plants Flag under North Pole, BBC News, Aug 2, 2007

2 Comments to “Chinese Flag, Chinese Mining Rights”

  1. Isn’t Song’s comment lacking in sense? The US hasn’t claimed any resources of the sea and doesn’t intend to, and the claimant whose EEZ covers the area in question, if any, would have to approve drilling in these areas anyway.


  2. Song’s remarks look to me like if they were influenced by old stories about the Klondike Gold Rush, and the history of colonialism. Not extremely scientific.
    Anyway, the only purpose of his comments I can see is to create a certain “reality” among the Chinese public, and a feeling of national success and righteousness.

    He could go much further than that without losing readers’ or tv watchers’ approval, I guess. There’s a blog entry on Huanqiu Shibao where the blogger suggests some moderation in exchanges with America. As far as I can see – no time to read more closely -, he concedes nothing concerning China’s presumptuous claims, but has still earned him self a nice handful of accusations of being a coward, an American spy, etc.


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