China dismisses report it destroyed thousands of acres of coral reef as ‘false’

By GMA Integrated News

The Chinese Embassy over the weekend dismissed as a “false report” allegations made by a Washington-based think tank that China caused the most ecological damage in areas in the South China Sea.

The Embassy said the report published by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) was “false” as it was based on old satellite images, as reported on GMA’s “24 Oras Weekend” on Sunday.

It also added that China continues to give importance to protecting the ecological environment in the South China Sea, and that the environmental protection and monitoring work done in the area follow domestic and international laws.

The AMTI of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) found that at least 4,500 acres of coral reefs were supposedly destroyed by China’s building of artificial islands in the area through dredging and landfill.


The American policy group also said an additional 16,300 acres of coral reefs were damaged due to the harvesting of giant clams by Chinese fishermen.

CSIS senior fellow and AMTI director Greg Poling said it may take decades for the reefs to come back due to the damage incurred, as he said the area also suffers from overfishing and the lack of a comprehensive fish stock assessment.

“The only way to stop this is to convince Beijing to stop this. Any effort to physically prevent this is going to be hopeless,” he said in a press briefing in Manila. — Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas/BM, GMA Integrated News