Diaoyu Islands: the East China Sea's hottest, most exclusive island chain

Travel | by James Weir
Posted: August 27th, 2012 | Updated: September 28th, 2012 | Comments
China travel_Chinese cities_China travel destinations East China Sea islands The Diaoyu Islands (Diàoyú Dǎo, 钓鱼岛), an island chain in the East China Sea, have become the most sought-after destination of the season. With China in the midst of a long, humid summer, anyone with the chance is yearning to take a reinvigorating dip in any body of water that isn't a city-bound river or man-made lake. And what better way to cool off and power down than head to a remote, relaxing island roughly 370 km (230 mi) off the mainland coast? There is clearly no better way. The problem: everybody wants in, making it arguably the most exclusive group of islets in the region. The island chain would perhaps be best described as rustic, with no signs of human civilization, save whatever relics remain from the short-lived Japanese fishing settlement that operated on one of the islands from the late 19th century until 1940 or so. This makes the islands perfect for the overwhelmed and exasperated city dweller. Are you sick of the cars, the skyscrapers, the incessant clatter and bang of a civilization on the rise? Well, a few days unwinding on the Diaoyu Islands is sure to do the trick. More after the jump.>>> The islands became even more contentious this month when a group of Japanese tourists arrived for a vacation without booking their stay in advance. The Chinese responded by pointing out that the Japanese have consistently refused to recognize the validity of the receipt of an old hotel reservation, made by the People of China in the 15th century, that clearly indicates an extended vacation of 5,000 years. If this booking were recognized, the People of China could continue their relaxing stay on the islands until at least 6,500 AD. Indeed, tensions over the overbooked vacation destination have reached a fever pitch. The citizens of China have been engaged in protests over the last week, arguing that the Japanese didn't make proper arrangements for their visit, and that they should contact the relevant Tourism Ministry if they wish to enter the queue to visit the VIP island resort. The Japanese responded by pointing out that the Chinese only want to use the island as an overnight stop on the way to the Chunxiao Scenic Gas Field and Holiday Resort, and that they had forgotten entirely about their 5,000 year vacation until the 1970's, when the Scenic Gas Field and Holiday Resort opened. The Chinese responded with an emphatic denial, adding that they loved nothing more than a leisurely evening fishing the waters off the islands—something they've been doing for centuries—and often end the day with many tons of mackerel, bonito and other predatory fish that they serve at picnics and local get-togethers.

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