China’s Island Building in the South China Sea: Damage to the Marine Environment, Implications, and International Law

China’s reclamation work in the South China Sea may have destroyed coral reefs, damaged fisheries in a region heavily dependent on seafood and breached international law on protecting the environment, according to a report to U.S. Congress. The scale and speed of China’s activities in the South China Sea, the biodiversity of the area, and the significance of the Spratly Islands to the ecology of the region make China’s actions of particular concern. China reclaimed about 3,000 acres of land on seven features it occupies in the Spratly islands of the South China Sea between December 2013 and October 2015, the report said.

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