Armed guards should be positioned on fishing boats in the South China Sea, says a former high-ranking Chinese military officer.
China’s current fishing fleets were too “loose and scattered” - alone and too vulnerable to attacks, said Luo Yuan, a retired major general and vice-president of China’s Strategic Culture Promotion Association, in a Global Times  editorial on Thursday.
The outspoken general said fishing boats should be grouped into large “collective fleets” protected by armed militiamen or military reservists while they fish in “sensitive waters”. He said fishermen tended to lack the necessary legal knowledge to protect themselves and solve disputes passively.
“The current model has many short-comings; first and foremost is the lack of ability amongst single vessels to fight against risk, be it natural dangers, pirates or unlawful attacks by armed personnel of other countries,” he said. “There is almost no self-help or defence capability.”
Luo’s hawkish and outspoken personality has put him in the spotlight for much of the past five years. His Sina Weibo account has attracted nearly 300,000 followers since he opened it in February.
It was rumoured that Luo was not reselected as a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in March because of his outgoing personality.