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Reporter’s Notebook: China’s Controversial Distant Fishing Fleet

The presence of China’s distant fishing fleet in African waters is increasingly becoming a contentious domestic political issues in a number of countries, particularly in West Africa. At a campaign rally in September, Ghanaian vice presidential candidate Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang told supporters that if elected this December her administration ban illegal Chinese fishing.

Similarly, the permitting process for Chinese trawlers has evolved into extended political struggles in Senegal, Liberia and Ghana among other countries that are becoming increasingly concerned about the role that China’s distant fleet is playing in illegal and unsustainable fishing activities.

While environmentalists, fishing lobbies and politicians have all made their positions on the matter very clear, rarely do we hear a Chinese perspective on the issue. Lulu Ning Hui, a Brussels-based journalist for the Hong Kong news site The Initium, spent time aboard two Chinese fishing trawlers in the South Atlantic off the coast of Argentina. She wrote about her experience in a story published last fall and joins Eric & Cobus to discuss what life is like aboard these controversial vessels.

Show Notes:

About Lulu Ning Hui:

Ning Hui, or Lulu, is a senior journalist and editor for Initium Media, an in-depth reporting Chinese media based in Hong Kong. Until 2017, she worked as Europe Reporter for Globus, Caixin Media. Before journalism, she worked for Oxfam Hong Kong and UN Women. She is from China and is currently based in Brussels, Belgium.

She reports on local and international issues: foreign labor in Qatar, post-war constructions in Ukraine and Syria, urban violence in Colombia, the border issue of US-Mexico, the rise of the AI sexbot, the decline of international adoption, among others.

A distinct tangent of her writing since 2016 investigates how today’s China interacts with the rest of the world: they are Chinese traders and investors in the jungles of Mozambique, Congo, and Amazon, fully packed Made-in-China goods in a commercial center near Warsaw, Chinese companies lobby European politicians or a yogurt brand a Chinese company borrowed from Bulgaria, to name a few.

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