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Japanese warships attack Chinese fishing boats in areas off Diaoyu Island

PLA Daily 2004-01-16

XIAMEN, Jan. 15 (Xinhuanet) -- Ten Japanese warships and a plane attacked two Chinese fishing boats using a water cannon Thursday night at areas off Chinese Diaoyu Islands, injuring one Chinese boatman, a Chinese activist told Xinhua.

Two fishing boats carrying 20 people from two Chinese companies and a non-governmental group were attacked about 10 nautical miles off the islands at about 7:00 p.m. Thursday (Beijing Time), said Li Nan, who is on the Chinese mainland and in charge of logistics and coordination for an inspection tour of sea areas off the islands.

Under the attack by high-pressure water cannons, the glass of the control cabin of a boat burst into pieces, leaving the face and hand of one boatman injured by broken pieces of glass, Li told Xinhua.

About 50 minutes later, Chinese activists aboard the boats released a monument with an inscription that says "Chinese territory Diaoyu Islands" into the sea area, Li quoted a message sent from the boats through a radio.

Li said he lost contact with the two boats since then, as their radio contact was probably jammed by the Japanese.

Li said that four Japanese warships and a plane appeared near the two Chinese fishing boats sailing in the direction of Diaoyu Islands at about 3:00 p.m. Thursday as they were about 30 nautical miles off the islands.

Two hours later, as the boats were about 20 nautical miles off the islands, the number of Japanese warships approaching the boats increased to 10, including five in front of the Chinese boats and another five behind and three planes above, said Li.

They followed the boats and did not attempt to intercept until 7:00 p.m. when the Chinese boats were about 10 nautical miles from the island.

The two boats left Xiamen in east China's Fujian Province at 10:00 p.m. Tuesday to inspect tourism resources in the sea areas off the islands. They were scheduled to reach their destination on the morning of Jan. 16 and return on Jan. 18, organizers said Wednesday.

Located off the northeast of Keelung of Taiwan, Diaoyu Islands have been part of Chinese territory since ancient times and an important fishing area for fishermen from the southeast part of the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.

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