Police in central Da Nang city have caught a Chinese couple bringing many world maps showing China’s illegal nine-dash line that violates Vietnam’s sovereignty in the East Sea.
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The couple, Li Lin Xiang, 67, and his wife, Gao Ya Fan, 63, both from China’s Liaoning province, had entered Vietnam via the Moc Bai border gate in Tay Ninh province for a tour.
They then travelled northward along National Highway 1A on a homemade tricycle and reached Da Nang on December 25, 2013.
When they were about to leave Da Nang for Thua Thien-Hue province the same day, they were stopped by police in Da Nang’s Lien Chieu District, who discovered a large world map stuck on the tricycle.
Meanwhile, many other world maps, which are smaller, were found in the vehicle.
All of these maps show the nine-dash line, also called the cow’s tongue line, that was illegally created by China to claim its sovereignty over about 80 percent of the East Sea, including Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes.
The Da Nang City Immigration Department has confiscated all these maps and given a warning to the couple for bringing them.
The department also found the couple had no license for using their homemade vehicle in Vietnam.
The agency then informed the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam about the case, and after the embassy granted a guarantee for the couple, the department let them to continue their journey northwards on the vehicle.
As the couple’s tourist visas were about to expire, the department has extended their visas until January 15, 2014 and required that they leave Vietnam that day through Vietnam's northern border with China.
The couple said they planned to travel through 100 countries, including those in Southeast Asia, on their homemade tricycle.
Mr Li told police that he and his wife had visited Vietnam twice before and during the visits they also brought such maps without being detected.
In a related recent development, the Ministry of Education and Training on December 24, 2013 ordered education departments nationwide to cease using a computer program in middle school that includes China’s illegal nine-dash line.
The order was made after middle school teachers found out that the unlawful line is included in the Earth Explorer software.