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Expedition to Diaoyu Islands slated for May
(China Daily HK Edition)
Updated: 2005-02-27 09:31

HK community organizations plan to embark in May on another expedition to proclaim China's territorial rights to the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

Diaoyu Island and adjacent isles are part of the the Chinese territorial sovereignty. [
Members of the Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands Friday demanded the Japanese Government stop infringing upon China's sovereignty to the island chain.

The latest expedition was prompted by an announcement by the Japanese Government that it will take over a lighthouse built by a Japanese right-wing group on the islands. Tokyo vowed to protect the lighthouse as Japan's state property.

"We have seen that there is a rise of militarism in Japan.

The Japanese Government has publicly supported the political group with big military ambitions to occupy the island," the committee's representative Lo Chau said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned Japan's latest move, saying that Tokyo's unilateral actions on the Diaoyu Islands were "illegal and invalid".

"The Japanese troops committed massacres and other heinous crimes in China during World War II. Ahead of the 60th anniversary of China's victory against Japanese aggression in World War II, the Japanese Government should fulfil its historical responsibility to acknowledge the crimes," the committee member and legislator Albert Ho said.

"Japan has taken advantage of the (current) tensions across Taiwan Straits in making a claim over the Diaoyu Islands. This is absolutely an act of shame and disgrace," Ho said.

The committee will kick off a fund-raising activity at community level to collect donations to rent a vessel for the expedition between May and June. It will need HK$1-2 million to fund a seven-to-nine-day expedition.

Though it has not decided on how many people will be sent on the expedition, the committee said it will liaise with overseas groups to join in the event. The committee said it plans to raise HK$5 million in the longer term, which will enable the organization to buy a vessel so it can set off on an expedition to the islands at any time.

Meanwhile, David Chu, one of the Hong Kong deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC), said he will try to enlist support from 30 NPC deputies to launch a petition that asks the central government to assume a tougher stance in safeguarding the islands.

Chu said he will raise the petition - either through a motion or a proposal - when the annual meeting of the NPC opens next week.

"We want to show that Hong Kong citizens strongly oppose the Japanese invasion of our lands," Chu said.

The petroleum-rich island group in the East China Sea, named Senkaku by Japan, lies between Japan's southern island of Okinawa and China's Taiwan Province. The islands are uninhabited but surrounded by rich fishing waters.

Japan claimed the chain in 1895 though China said the islands have been Chinese for centuries. The United States administered the islands after World War II but turned over control of them to Japan in 1972.

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