At first, I was mystified when a gaggle of Chinese fishing boats circled and rammed a Vietnamese fishing boat that had come too close to the Chinese oil rig planted near the Paracel Islands. So what in the world were fishing boats doing protecting an oil rig? But then, the hard-copy Yomiuri printed a detailed story last month, complete with interviews, on how Chinese fishing boats and their crew had been recruited as part-time surveillance and patrol forces by the maritime authorities. So that explains that… as well as the Japanese donation of five used fishing boats to Vietnam, who will convert them to coast guard vessels.
I’m not sure which is more alarming, the fact that the Chinese authorities are recruiting those unruly Chinese fishermen into paramilitary duties, or that they are freely letting Yomiuri visit and interview the fishermen.