China has opened a modern cinema theatre on Yongxing Island in the disputed South China Sea as part of its plan to establish authority over the area, the state media reported on Sunday. Over 200 residents and soldiers watched the Chinese movie 'The Eternity of Jiao Yulu' on Saturday at the Sansha Yinlong Cinema, located in Sansha municipality, China's newest city in the South China Sea (SCS).
"The cinema will show at least one film every day, so residents and soldiers on Yongxing Island can enjoy films simultaneously with moviegoers across the country," said Gu Xiaojing, general manager of Hainan Media Croup.
China has been expanding facilities in the islands under its control encouraging population settlements in the disputed area, where Beijing also built artificial islands some with facilities for garrison as well as airstrip reinforcing its control over the area.
Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the South China Sea.
The theatre is equipped with advanced projection equipment, including the latest 4K digital projectors as well as a 3D perforated screen for viewers to indulge in the pleasure of big screen, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Chen Zijian, general manager of Hainan Film Company, which operates the cinema, said they have also purchased two mobile projection units and plan to screen films for free on more islands within the municipality to meet the demands of residents, it added.
The opening of the cinema is part of a plan by local cultural authorities to establish community services on islands under Sansha's jurisdiction.
In April last year, Sansha opened its first public library. It also has a stadium and has organised various cultural activities to enrich the lives of residents.
Sansha municipality was set up in 2012.
Also, a total of 12 Chinese-developed underwater gliders are carrying out scientific observations in the SCS from the research vessel "Kexue" and sending back real-time data.
It is the largest group of gliders to perform simultaneous observations in the region.
Kexue left Qingdao in east China's Shandong Province last Monday for a maritime scientific expedition and stopped in Xiamen, southeast China to resupply Friday after completing the first part of the mission.
"The gliders have collected detailed maritime information, including temperature, salinity, turbidity, oxygen levels as well as the intensity and direction of currents," said Yu Jiancheng, a scientist with the programme.
The 12 submersible devices will collect comprehensive ocean data over the next month, said Sun Song, another scientist with the programme.
Underwater gliders are a new type of underwater robot featuring less energy consumption, higher efficiency and better endurance.
During the first stage of the mission, scientists also successfully placed three submersible buoys and conducted several diving missions. Kexue will leave Xiamen today for the mission's second stage.
Kexue is China's most advanced, independently-made marine science expedition vessel. It was put into operation in April 2014. The 4,711-tonne vessel is capable of conducting deep and open sea exploration and research, the Xinhua said.