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14 seized Chinese fishermen return home

09-14-2010 08:23 BJT

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After China's repeated solemn representations, 14 Chinese fishermen illegally seized by Japanese authorities have flown back to east China's port city of Fuzhou. However the captain of their boat is still detained by the Japanese side.

The fishermen arrived in Fuzhou in a government chartered plane on Monday afternoon.

Fisherman Wang Guohua said, "We are very grateful to our country, the government and people across the country to be able to get back so soon. It was illegal for the Japanese side to detain us in the Diaoyu Islands, it is our territory and normal for us to fish there. The detention is illegal, we demand they free our captain immediately. "

The fishermen were detained after their trawler collided with two Japanese Coast Guard patrol vessels near the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea last Tuesday.

The captain of the Chinese trawler, Zhan Qixiong, is still being held by Japanese authorities for allegedly "obstructing public duties."

A Japanese court has ruled he be detained for 10 days, until September 19th.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu has strongly demanded the Japanese side immediately let him return.

Jiang Yu says in a statement that the trawler, which was "illegally detained by the Japanese side," also set off for home Monday morning, and the Chinese government has dispatched a fisheries administration ship to the relevant waters to assist it.

She says China has repeatedly lodged solemn representations to the Japanese side about the incident, and all Chinese people, including overseas Chinese compatriots, have denounced the illegal moves of the Japanese side.

Since the incident happened, State Councillor Dai Bingguo, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and some other senior Chinese diplomats have summoned the Japanese Ambassador to China, Uichiro Niwa, four times.

A chartered plane of the Chinese government carrying 14 Chinese fishermen
illegally seized by the Japanese authorities arrives at the airport in Fuzhou,
capital of southeast China's Fujian Province, Sept. 13, 2010. The fishermen were
illegally detained after a trawler they were aboard collided with two Japanese
Coast Guard patrol vessels near the Diaoyu Islands last Tuesday.
(Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)

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