A move that has significant implications for maritime archaeologists in Southeast Asia – China has adopted an aggressive stance to claim territoriality around shipwrecks in the South China Sea, even when the wrecks are nowhere near China. The latest claim saw a Chinese military ship bully chase off a maritime archaeology ship launced by the National Museum of the Philippines investigating a ship off the coast of the Philippines.
Chinese Territorial Strife Hits Archaeology
Wall Street Jorunal, 02 December 2013
Shipwrecks are China’s latest approach to claiming disputed territory
Quartz, 02 December 2013
China’s Claiming Territory By Calling Dibs On 800-Year-Old Shipwrecks
Gizmodo Australia, 03 December 2013
With territorial disputes escalating in the waters off China, the Chinese government has begun asserting ownership of thousands of shipwrecks within a vast U-shaped area that covers almost all of the South China Sea, which it says has been part of its territorial waters for centuries.
China has ordered its coast guard to prevent what it considers illegal archaeology in the waters it claims, and it is pouring money into a state-run marine-archaeology program. Chinese archaeologists are preparing their first comprehensive survey of undersea sites, including in disputed areas.
Chinese officials say their efforts will curb the theft and treasure hunting they say has destroyed numerous sites and flooded the global market with looted Chinese antiquities.
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