Cinema opens on disputed island in Paracels

This file aerial view taken on July 27, 2012, shows part of the city of Sansha on the island of Yongxing, also known as Woody island in the disputed Paracel chain.
This file aerial view taken on July 27, 2012, shows part of the city of Sansha on the island of Yongxing, also known as Woody island in the disputed Paracel chain. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING • China has opened its southernmost cinema on a disputed island in the South China Sea, state media said, as part of an ongoing effort to build up civilian infrastructure and assert Beijing's sovereignty.

The cinema is on Woody Island in the Paracels - which are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan - and is equipped with the most advanced projection equipment, reported state news agency Xinhua.

"The opening of the cinema is part of a plan by the local cultural authorities to establish community services on islands under Sansha's jurisdiction," Xinhua said.

Woody Island is the seat of what China calls Sansha city, which is its administrative centre for the South China Sea.

Though China calls it a city, Sansha's permanent population is no more than a few thousand, and many of the disputed islets and reefs in the sea are uninhabited.

China took full control of the Paracel Islands in 1974 after a naval showdown with Vietnam.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 26, 2017, with the headline 'Cinema opens on disputed island in Paracels'. Print Edition | Subscribe