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Chinese fishing boats survive Japanese warships' attack

PLA Daily 2004-01-17

Chinese activists in the fishing boats survived Japanese warships' attack off Diaoyu Islands and began to return late Thursday after cast monument with an inscription that says "Chinese territory Diaoyu Islands" into the sea, a Chinese activist told Xinhua Friday.

Ten Japanese warships and a plane attacked two Chinese fishing boats using a water cannon Thursday night off the Chinese Diaoyu Islands, injuring one Chinese seaman, said Li Nan, who is in charge of logistics and coordination for an inspection tour of the islands.

Two fishing boats carrying 20 people from two Chinese companies and a non-governmental group were attacked by high-pressure water cannons from Japanese warships about 10 nautical miles off the islands at about 7:00 p.m. Thursday (Beijing Time), Li said.

To bar Chinese vessels moving nearer to the islands, Japanese vessels began to spray the cabin of one Chinese boat, damaging its windshield and spattering glass injuring the wheelman's face and arms, according to Li.

Chinese activists threw eggs back at warships. During the conflict, one activist strained his back and the Chinese boat lost its radio into the sea.

Knowing that a landing on the islands was impossible, another Chinese vessel released the stone monument inscribed "Chinese territory Diaoyu islands" into the sea at 123.17 degrees East Longitude and 24.40 degrees North Latitude near the archipelago.

At this time, two Japanese vessels made a sudden attack on the Chinese boat, Li said.

Zhang Likun and Li Yiqiang, chief organizers of this tour, decided to return following the conflict.

According to Li Nan, 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 when they were about 31 nautical miles off the islands.

Two hours later, when the boats were about 20 nautical miles from 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.

Li Nan said he lost contact with the two boats after the conflict, as their radio contact was probably jammed by the Japanese. A massive rescue operation was under launched by the Chinese maritime salvage center. By press time, the Chinese vessels were on the way home. They were expected to reach Xiamen port on Saturday noon, according to Li Nan.

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 return on Sunday.

Source: Xinhua

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