North Korea holds Chinese fishermen hostage, demands ransom; netizens irate
May 17, 2012Jing Gao4 CommentsDiaoyu Islands, Diplomacy, Fishing, Huangyan Island, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, money diplomacy, North Korea, South China Sea, South Korea, territorial dispute
Four Chinese fishing boats were seized by unidentified North Koreans eight days ago when they were fishing in the Chinese waters. Until press time, only one boat managed to escape and returned to China. Other three boats, with 29 fishermen on board, are being held to a ransom of 900,000 Chinese yuan, according to Chinese crew who got home.
Yang Hongbing, owner of one fishing boat, recalled that their fleet set off from Dalian of Liaoning province on May 2 and began trawling on May 7 upon arriving in waters 123 degrees 57 minutes east and 38 degrees and five minutes north. He said 124 degrees east is regarded by Chinese fishermen as the real boundary between China and North Korea.
The red spot on the map denotes the venue of the incident.
Another boat owner Sun Caihui, whose boat has been hijacked, said among captors on the North Korean boat, some are Chinese who speak mandarin. North Koreans are dressed either in uniforms or in plainclothes. They are all armed with weapons, so the fishermen hostages did not resist.
Zhang Dechang, one of the boat owners, received a phone call from the captain of his boat, who told him that the North Koreans said that they would not release the boats unless the Chinese owners had paid a ransom of 400,000 yuan (US$63.300) per boat. The captors kept changing their cell phone numbers, and were even willing to negotiate over the amount of the ransom.
Chinese netizens regard North Korea as a pariah state under Chinese protection, or, naively, China’s little brother who have common interests and share the same fate with China. This aggression of North Korea is widely viewed as betrayal of China, its largest patron, by netizens, who then take the Chinese government to task for its cowardice on the diplomatic front, when China is also deadlocked in a territorial dispute over a small rock in the South China Sea with the Philippines. Netizens’ anger has made this unusual move by the North Korea today’s hottest trending topic on Weibo.
Selected comments from Sina Weibo
甜腻的柠檬糖：Some news even says the ransom is 1.2 million. So the so-called War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea taught in the books is a lie?
朱顺忠：Yesterday, after incessant inquiries from the press, like the Beijing News, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs finally conceded sheepishly that our fishermen have been detained by North Korean army for a ransom of 900K. This grave incident had been circulating like a wildfire on Weibo, and yet the authorities did not make any comment with regard to it until then. They had the gall to remain silent about a terrible aggression upon our citizens like this. If the media did not report it, how long would the Ministry of Foreign Affairs bury its head in the sand? Damn!
唐泽文: Great! I can donate my full month’s salary to the war with North Korea and liberation of North Korean people! Seize North Korea! Capture Ri Chun-hee alive!//@安替: I strongly demand that North Korea be given a good beating! Beat the shit out of the Kim family! Share this message if you are a Chinese!
安替：I strongly demand that products made in North Korea be boycotted! But, what products does the North have for us to boycott?
环保董良杰：Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not Ministry of International Poverty Reduction. Fighting for the integrity of its sovereignty is fighting for its people’s rights. What the heck is this? Even N. Korea now has the nerve to act like a bully?
老曹明年本命年：What the heck is this? The Diaoyu Islands dispute with Japs and the Huangyan Island with Filipinos are not over yet. And here comes this. Isn’t People’s Daily writing about China’s brotherhood and camaraderie with N.Korea every day? Dare Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense make this big? Any one that aggresses our China will be annihilated, however far away it is.
郭传亮的微博：Have those SOBs in North Korea gone nuts over poverty? Isn’t it abduction? How are they different from pirates?? And they asked for 900,000! How about we give you 900,000 missiles? Fat Kim!!
紫紫紫昕：This is a side effect of Huangyan Island. Soon we will see the U.S. come all the way across the Pacific and drag away our fishing vessels!~~~~~~
开心白头翁：Is that really a North Korean vessel? Even if it wants to betray its patron, this isn’t the right time. If it had become powerful enough to be on its feet independent of China, then anything is possible. But right now, it still needs China to defend it in the international community and support it economically. It shouldn’t be North Korea, right?
端砖临风：An incident on the 8th wasn’t given full coverage until today??? Just look at this speed of reaction, and you’ll know that if there is really going to be a war, it is doomed!!!
阿紫422：Blind tolerance will only come in for more bullying and humiliation.
听说能起很长的昵称贞：Having been bitten by its own dog, it doesn’t even have the nerve to beat the dog? What a coward!
范玲珰：The few friends that the Chinese government had made by money squandering diplomacy all turn out to be ungrateful, treacherous wolves! Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the most incompetent organ.