Bạch Long Vĩ island
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|Location||Between Hai Phong (Vietnam) and Hainan Island(China)|
Bach Long Vi island is located in the Gulf of Tonkin, about halfway between Hai Phong (Vietnam) and Hainan Island (China). The island is an offshore district of Haiphong City. Fishing comprises the majority of economic activity in the Gulf of Tonkin, and Bach Long Vi is a major nursery and harvesting area for fish eggs. More than 50 species of commercial fish are abundant in the area (ADB 1999).
In Vietnamese, "Bạch Long Vĩ" means "The Tail of the White Dragon". This name has its root from an ancient Vietnamese legend. According to the legend, when the Vietnamese were fighting Chinese invaders, the gods sent a family of dragons to help defend the land. This family of dragons began spitting out jewels and jade. These jewels turned into the islands and islets dotting the sea, linking together to form a great wall against the invaders. The people kept their land safe and formed what later became the country of Vietnam. After that, dragons were interested in peaceful sightseeing of the earth, and then decided to live here. The place where the mother dragon descended was named Hạ Long meaning "Descending Dragon", the place where the dragon's children attended upon their mother was called Bái Tử Long island (Bái: attend upon, Tử: children, Long: dragon), and the place where the dragon's children wriggled their tails violently was called Bạch Long Vỹ island (Bạch: white- color of the foam made when Dragon's children wriggled, Long: dragon, Vỹ: tail). Before the 20th century, the island used to be called "Vô Thủy" which means "no water" since there was no water source on the island.
According to Li Dechao, before the 1950s, Nightingale Island (Yeying Is.; Chinese: 夜鶯島; Pinyin: Yèyīng Dǎo) is the former toponym of Bạch Long Vĩ Island. And Fushui Isle (Chinese character: 浮水洲; Pinyin: Fúshǔi Zhōu;Vietnamese:"Phù Thủy Châu" meaning "pearl floating on water".) is the name used among both Danzhou Hainan Chinese and Vietnamese fishermen.
Bach Long Vi sits 58 meters above sea level, and is a plateau. There are no other significant exposed land masses within 75 km of the island.
On the tectonic- structure framework, Bach Long Vi island located on a local uplifted blocks of northeast – southwest direction belonging to the northwest flank of the Song Hong Cenozoic sedimentary basin, closed by the east with the basin of Northern Gulf of Tonkin. Island is composed of sedimentary rocks of sandstone, siltstone and claystone from Phu Thuy Chau Formation of Oligocene age and thickness of about 200m; and Hoa Mi Formation of middle Miocene – Pliocene and thickness about 55 - 60m.
Historically, before the 20th century, Bach Long Vi island was not inhabited due to the lack of water resource .
In 1887, a convention between China (Qing Dynasty) and France made Qing government ceded the island to French Indochina (Annam Protectorate). However, this was not an acceptable result for China. In the contemporary published map of People's Republic of China and other nations, this island still remained a part of China(Goode's World Atlas, Rand McNally, 1933). Besides, some foreign scholars regarded this island had been China's territory at least to 1950.
During the World War II, Japanese army forced the French out of Indochina and seized the island.
On January 16, 1957, China's government transferred the island to North Vietnam's government. On that day, the Prime Minister of Vietnam signed the Decree number 49/Ttg which stipulated that Bạch Long Vĩ island is a “Xã” (Village) and belong to Haiphong City. In this year, a Fish Farm Co-operative (Hợp tác xã Nông ngư), which had 93 workers and 22 hectares of land and 13 ships, was established in this island.
On December 9, 1992, Vietnamese government signed the Decree Number 15/NĐ/CP which stipulated that Bạch Long Vĩ island is a district which belongs to the city of Hai Phong.
In the convention on Gulf of Tonkin signed between the Vietnamese government and the Chinese government, China respects the Vietnamese sovereignty over the island and there is no dispute over the island
The core issue to be settled in the Gulf of Tonkin is which principle should be used in order to divide the Gulf. In this context, the impact of islands is of crucial importance and, in particular, the Vietnamese controlled Bach Long Vi Island. The first question is whether or not it qualifies as an island according to the provisions of the 1982 United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (1982 UNCLOS). If it does impact on the tracing of a line of equidistance if this principle is applied in the Gulf of Tonkin. Logically, Vietnam would take the position that Bach Long Vi Island should have its full impact in any agreement on how to divide the Gulf. On the other hand, China has an interest in minimising the impact that the Island would have on any agreed delimitation. This could be done by, either arguing that Bach Long Vi is not an island in accordance with the provisions of 1982 UNCLOS or, by arguing that its impact should be minimised and possibly even be disregarded. For China to argue that it is not an island would be counterproductive as China has earlier controlled the island and has claimed that the island was inhabited before it was handed-over to Vietnam in the late 1950s.
(The Management of the Border Disputes Between China and Vietnam and its Regional Implications by Assoc.Prof.Ramses Amer, Co-ordinator, South-East Asia Program (SEAP), Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, and Senior Research Adviser, Department of Research Co-operation-SAREC, Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA), October 2000)
Wildlife and Biodiversity
The island is home to several species of migratory birds, including storks, turtle doves, drongos and swamphens. Local Vietnamese authorities have programs in place to protect these birds during their migratory season.
Due to its distance from the mainland, Bach Long Vi is used as a base for offshore fishing. The marine resources in the immediate vicinity of the island are subject to over-harvesting and destructive fishing practices.
Tran Duc Thanh (eds) et al. Nature and environment of Bach Long Vi island -sea. In Vietnamese. (2013) 
- "Historical names of Nightingale Island". Retrieved 2009-02-16.
- Li, Dechao (1996). "Rectification of the name of Pai-lung-wei Is.". 海洋世界 9: 6~7.
- Official history of Bach Long Vi island
- "Undelimited maritime boundaries of the Asian Rim in the Pacific Ocean", John Robert Victor Prescott, Shelagh Furness, Clive H. Schofield, International Boundaries Research Unit 
- "The Management of the Border Disputes Between China and Vietnam and its Regional Implications by Assoc.Prof.Ramses Amer, Co-ordinator, South-East Asia Program (SEAP), Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, and Senior Research Adviser, Department of Research Co-operation-SAREC, Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA), October 2000"
- Draft coastal and marine protected area plan. Hanoi: Asian Development Bank. (1999)
- Nguyen Chu Hoi, Nguyen Huy Yet and Dang Ngoc Thanh eds. Hai Phong: Hai Phong Institute of Oceanography. In Vietnamese. (1998)
- Tran Duc Thanh (eds). Nature and Environment in Bach Long Vi Island and Sea. Publishing House for Science and Technology. Hanoi. In Vietnamese (2013