July 24 (UPI) — China has opened a movie theater on a disputed island in the South China Sea, a state-owned publication reported.
China’s southernmost city of Sansha — on Woody Island, the largest of the disputed Paracel Islands — now has a state-of-the-art cinema, which state-owned People’s Daily called an effort to establish community services on the island.
Three-quarters of the island’s population of about 2,000 is comprised of Chinese military personnel.
The area has been under Beijing’s control since 1974, after a brief war with South Vietnam. However, Vietnam, Taiwan and China all claim rights to the island. Vietnam has repeatedly protested China’s construction of a city and military base there.
Beijing is reclaiming and developing the Paracel and Spratly Islands to assert its claims to the islands’ surrounding waters. An international tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, dismissed the claims in a ruling last year, but China has continued its development.
The new Sansha Yinlong Cinema, on the island Beijing calls Yongxing, showed the 2014 documentary “The Eternity of Jiao Yulu” on Saturday to open the theater.