China builds cinema on disputed island in South China Sea

Movie theatre set up on Woody Island in the Paracel chain, which is also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 July, 2017, 1:04pm
UPDATED : Monday, 24 July, 2017, 1:19pm

China has built a cinema on a disputed island in the South China Sea, state media reported.

The movie theatre has been set up on Woody Island, known as Yongxing in Chinese, in the Paracel chain of islands, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

The Yinlong Cinema showed its first film on Saturday, according to the report.

Three in four people on Woody island in disputed South China Sea are Chinese military

About 200 people including military personnel and residents watched The Eternity Of Jiao Yulu, a 2014 documentary about a county Communist Party secretary who died of overwork in the 1960s. President Xi Jinping dedicated a poem to Jiao.

The cinema has been setup to the improve the living conditions on the island, according to the report.

“There will be at least one film each day so military personnel and civilians living on the island can enjoy the same films and cultural entertainment as people elsewhere in China,” Gu Xiaojing, the manager of Hainan Media Group, which owns the cinema chain, was quoted as saying.

Gu said first film was not really a piece of entertainment, but the manager did pledge to bring islanders “the latest and hottest blockbusters at the same time as the rest of the country”.

The island is the largest in the Paracels, which are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.

It has about 1,000 residents, including military personnel.

Sansha city was built on the island which administers the surrounding waters and islands for China.

The cinema has portable digital projectors and will occasionally travel to other Chinese-controlled islands in the South China Sea to entertain troops and residents, the report said.

China ‘beefing up military’ on disputed islands in the South China Sea, says US think tank

China is reclaiming land from the sea and developing large numbers of islands in the Paracel and Spratly island chains to assert its claims to the region’s waters.

An international tribunal in The Hague last year dismissed most of China’s claims, but Beijing has rejected its ruling.