The Coast Guard Law of the People's Republic of China
In 2018, the China Coast Guard, which had been under the command of the State Council, was transferred to the People's Armed Police Force under the unified command of the Central Military Commission.
The CCG Law was enacted in January 2021 and was put into force on February 1.
The CCG Law includes problematic provisions in terms of their inconsistency with international law. Sources of inconsistency include, among others, ambiguity as to geographical areas the CCG Law applies and how the rules governing the use of weapons are implemented.
Notable Provisions of CCG Law
Article 3: The CCG Law applies to “maritime areas under Chinese jurisdiction” and the airspace above them.
The Law gives NO definition of “maritime areas under Chinese jurisdiction.” According to the August 2018 interpretation of the term given by the Supreme Court of the People, however, the areas are: internal waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone, and continental shelf of the People’s Republic of China as well as other maritime areas over which the PRC has jurisdiction. While removed from the final text of the CCG Law, similar language had been contained in the draft of the Law.
Article 21: Measures such as forcible eviction may be taken against illegal acts committed by foreign military vessels, etc.
Article 22: In cases of illegal infringement on sovereignty committed by foreign organizations or individuals in the seas, all necessary measures, including the use of weapons, may be taken.
Article 25: Provisional maritime warning areas may be set and the passage and stay of vessels and people may be restricted or prohibited.
Article 83: The CCG should execute missions, including defense operations, based on relevant laws, such as the National Defense Law and the People's Armed Police Law, and orders from the Central Military Commission.
Chain of Command
The China Coast Guard Bureau
The China Coast Guard Bureau was established in March 2013 through the integration of four maritime law enforcement agencies. In July 2018, the Bureau was transferred to the People's Armed Police Force under the unified command of the Central Military Commission. It consists of the North, East and South China Sea Subbureaus.
After the reorganization in 2018, former officers of the PLA Navy were reportedly given major CCG positions. In addition, collaboration between the PLA and the CCG was strengthened in terms of organization, personnel and equipment, as exemplified by the transfer of retired PLA Navy destroyers and frigates to the CCG.
The CCG possesses more than 200 vessels and aircraft (fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft).