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China to Philippines: Ensure convicted poachers' rights

Camille Diola (The Philippine Star) - August 7, 2014 - 10:50am

MANILA, Philippines — China does not oppose the Palawan court's recent conviction of 12 Chinese fishermen following the grounding of their vessel on Tubbataha Reef in April 2013, but it is asking the Philippines to treat them humanely.

"The Foreign Ministry and Chinese diplomatic missions in the Philippines will continue to provide consular assistance within their remit to the Chinese fishermen and request the Philippine side to guarantee their legitimate rights and interests," Hua Chunying, China Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said in a statement Wednesday.

Hua said that Beijing has asked Manila to "impartially handle the case in accordance with law" and ensure their humanitarian treatment since the crew members of FV Min Long Yu were suspected of fishing in waters within Philippine territory.

"Meanwhile, we hope that Chinese fishermen working at the sea can abide by laws and carry out normal fishery production," Hua added.

The Palawan Regional Trial Court Branch 51 on Tuesday sentenced captain Liu Chiangjie to a maximum of 12 years in a local jail, while the rest of the 11 crewmen face up to 10 years behind bars.

The other fishermen were identified as Che Li Yong, Fan Len Tie, Xuan Ven Fe, Wang Yu Zhen, Lizhong Sheng, Lizhiming, Liu Cheng Tie, Tung Zhue We, Tang Hai Liny, Wen Hong Min and Qi Vixn.

The court said the accused violated Section 27 of Republic Act 10067, which declares Tubbataha Reef as a protected area.

The court, however, has yet to decide on a separate case against them for violation of Article 212 of the Revised Penal Code for allegedly attempting to bribe the arresting officers from the Tubbataha Management Office in exchange for their release.

CHE LI YONG CHINA FOREIGN MINISTRY FAN LEN TIE FOREIGN MINISTRY AND CHINESE HUA HUA CHUNYING LIU CHENG TIE LIU CHIANGJIE LIZHONG SHENG TUBBATAHA REEF
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