Activists launch new Diaoyus mission
Dozens of activists from Hong Kong, the mainland, Taiwan and overseas will launch an expedition to the disputed Diaoyu Islands by October to mark the 10th anniversary of the first successful landing on the islands.
They will set sail from Hong Kong on a vessel, tentatively named Bao Diao II, which means 'defend Diaoyu', to demonstrate Chinese sovereignty over the disputed territory.
The Hong Kong-based Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands bought the vessel last month for $680,000.
Lawmakers Albert Ho Chun-yan, 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung and Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress, David Chu Yu-lin, will take part in the voyage.
The trip also aims to mark the 10th anniversary of the death of Hong Kong activist David Chan Yuk-cheung who drowned during an attempt to land on the islands on September 26, 1996.
On October 7, 1996, Hong Kong resident Chan Yu-nam set foot on the Diaoyus with two Taiwanese, planting the flags of the mainland and Taiwan. The forthcoming voyage to the islands will be the ninth by activists from the city, the mainland and Taiwan since 1996.
The action committee has raised $1.7 million, including $1 million donated by finance consultant Lew Mon-hung. Committee chairman Or Wah said they hoped to raise another $1.2 million to purchase another vessel to join Bao Diao II.
'Another vessel may sail from Keelung, Taiwan to join our voyage,' he said.
Mr Or expected about 50 activists to sail from Hong Kong if the committee managed to secure two vessels for the trip. Activists from the US, Britain, Australia and Macau will join the voyage.
Action Committee vice-chairman Lo Chau said the newly purchased vessel was much stronger than their previous protest ship, which sank off the islands in June 1998 after being rammed repeatedly by Japanese coastguard vessels.
Mr Ho said the voyage was a peaceful protest against Japan's occupation of the islands.