On 20 November, RFA reported that the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) says that for years China has been funding the expansion of the militia to assert its claims in the South China Sea, and that now hundreds of Chinese maritime militia vessels are operating in contested areas of the South China Sea on a consistent basis, posing a significant challenge to “maritime order rooted in international law”. A new report provides a comprehensive profile of a force that it says has been operating alongside Chinese law enforcement and military to achieve Chinese political objectives in disputed waters. It concludes that “the majority of Chinese fishing vessels in disputed areas of the South China Sea do not operate as independent commercial actors but instead as paid agents of the Chinese government obligated to help fulfil its political and national security objectives”.
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