China Coast Guard
Emblem of China Coast Guard
Racing stripe
Common nameHaijing (海警)
China Coast Guard Bureau (中国海警局)
Agency overview
FormedJuly 2013; 11 years ago (2013-07)
Employees16,296 personnel (2018)
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionChina
Constituting instrument
  • Coast Guard Law of the People's Republic of China《中华人民共和国海警法》
General nature
Specialist jurisdiction
  • Coastal patrol, marine border protection, marine search and rescue.
Operational structure
Headquarters1 Fuxingmen Outer Street, Beijing, China
Agency executives
Parent agencyPeople's Armed Police
Boats164 cutters
Multiple patrol boats (2018)
AircraftHarbin Z-9
Harbin Y-12
Website Edit this at Wikidata
China Coast Guard
Simplified Chinese中国海警局
Traditional Chinese中國海警局
Haijing ("Coast Guard")

China Coast Guard (CCG) is the maritime security, search and rescue, and law enforcement service branch of the People's Armed Police of China. The Coast Guard is an armed gendarmerie force (of corps grade), and its cutters are armed. Although the majority of its activities are ordinary law enforcement, it has gained notoriety for its role in political border clashes in the South China Sea and Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.


The China Coast Guard was formed in 2013 by combining the maritime branch of the People's Armed Police, the Border Security Force's Maritime Police, and the other maritime law enforcement agencies in China (the Fisheries Law Enforcement Command, General Administration of Customs, and China Marine Surveillance).[2] The unified Coast Guard has been in operation since July 2013.[3] On July 1, 2018, the China Coast Guard was transferred from the civilian control of the State Council and the State Oceanic Administration, to the People's Armed Police, ultimately placing it under the direct command of the Central Military Commission.[2][4][5] Its new commander was a PLAN officer, emphasizing its new role as a paramilitary force.[6]

In June 2018, the China Coast Guard was granted maritime rights and law enforcement akin to civilian law enforcement agencies in order to carry out law enforcement against illegal activities, keep peace and order, as well as safeguarding security at sea, in all areas involved with the use of marine resources, protection of marine environment, regulation of fishery, and anti-smuggling.[7] The Coast Guard Law of 1 February 2021 allows CCG ships to use lethal force on foreign ships that do not obey orders to leave Chinese waters.[8][9] In June 2024, a domestic regulation came into force empowering the CCG to detain foreign vessels and persons up to 60 days.[10]


The CCG duty is to perform regular patrols and reactive actions (such as Search and Rescue) on the coastal, near sea, and open ocean areas of its jurisdiction (and international waters). These actions include principally law enforcement tasks such as interdicting smuggling, illegal fisheries control, and protecting the environment (such as stopping coral fishing and pollutant dumping).[11]

The CCG also serves as an armed border guard, protecting China's claimed maritime borders, which often leads to conflict and controversy. As a constituent part of the Chinese Armed Forces (being subordinate to the PAP), on wartime it would be placed under the operational control of the People's Liberation Army Navy, in which case it would be likely to play support roles and rear-area escort (like its USCG counterparts, which is also a branch of the military, its ships are not equipped for full military combat).[citation needed]

Law enforcement

The first set of duties of the CCG according to the China Coast Guard Law include seven law enforcement tasks:

  1. fighting maritime violations and crimes,[12]
  2. preserving maritime safety and security,
  3. development and utilization of marine resources,
  4. marine ecological and environmental protection,[13]
  5. management of marine fishery resources,[14]
  6. carrying out anti-smuggling tasks on the sea,
  7. coordinating and guiding local maritime law enforcement.

Maritime safety

Another set of responsibilities come from Maritime safety. While maritime safety, SAR, and the enforcement of the rules of marine safety is the main remit of the China Maritime Safety Administration, and the leading organ in active SAR is the China Rescue and Salvage Bureau, the CCG, as the main maritime law enforcement agency, is involved very often in rescue operations.[15] It also supports the CMSA in enforcing maritime safety rules and inspect ships suspected of presenting risks to navigation.[citation needed]

International cooperation

International cooperation and coordination is one of the official tasks of the CCG. Part of this is cooperation with friendly nations for mutually beneficial tasks (such as cooperating with Russia in fishery operations, as part of the plan for the opening and operation of an Arctic passage).[16][17] More critical is cooperation with neighboring states on matters of mutual interest, in particular fisheries and smuggling. The frequency of that cooperation often correlates with the state of bilateral relationships, but institutional connections do remain continuously active.[18][19]

In the 2000s and early 2010s, the Chinese Coast Guard (Before 2013, the Maritime Police and China Marine Surveillance) conducted periodic joint-training sessions with other navies in the North Pacific, including the US Coast Guard service.[20] The Chinese Coast Guard has also participated in the annual North Pacific Coast Guard Agencies Forum in Alaska, along with the US, Canadian, Japanese, South Korean, and Russian Coast Guards. As part of an exchange program, around 109 members of the Chinese Coast Guard service have served on U.S. Coast Guard cutters.[21][22]

Badge of China Coast Guard before 2013, when part of the PAP Border Security Force under the Ministry of Public Security.

The worsening of US-China relationships in the last few years (as of 2024), in particular the ongoing conflict regarding the South China Sea (in which the CCG is directly involved) have all but ended the co-training missions with the USCG, although the purely civilian CMSA still keeps a very close working relationship with its counterparts in the US and Japan.[citation needed]

Territorial sovereignty and rights protection

As China's claims of sovereign waters are extensive and overlap with several other countries, enforcing this doctrine has created a very large number of incidents and controversies involving the CCG.[23][10] These often escalate to skirmishes and tense brinkmanship in what has been called grey-zone operations.[24] The CCG is at the forefront of these incidents (often alongside the People's Armed Forces Maritime Militia).[25] The probable reason for that usage, according to international analysts[26][27] is that putting the paramilitary "White Hulls" (the CCG) and the "Blue Hulls" (the PAFMM) at the forefront avoids the dangerous escalation that would happen if the unambiguously military "Gray Hulls" (the PLAN) were involved in an incident.[28][29]

The CCG is very active in patrolling those rights.[30] The result is a significant number of incidents of varying levels of tension.[23] In 2019, the United States issued a warning to China over aggressive and unsafe action by their Coast Guard and maritime militia.[31] In 2023, the Coast Guard used water cannons on Philippines military ships in contested waters.[32] In 2024, the PAFMM and CCG entered into a tense standoff with the Philippines over the Second Thomas Shoal.[10][33]


This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2024) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

Area Commands

After the reform in 2018, CCG consists of three area commands (administratively sub-bureaus), subdivided into detachments (administratively local bureaus).


Main article: Equipment of the China Coast Guard


China Coast Guard Shucha II-class Cutter Haijing 3306.

Chinese Coast Guard ships are painted white with a blue stripe and the words "China Coast Guard" in English and Chinese. CCG ships have hull numbers in the format "Haijing-XX", where XX is a number (up to five figures). Due to the amalgamation of so many forces to form the CCG, the number of ship types and their denomination is very varied and very confusing, with ships often still being referred to with their old "Haijian" (for Marine Surveillance), "Haiguan" (for Customs) or "Yuzheng" (for FLEC) numbers, or referred with their numbers prior to the (ongoing) renumbering.[34]

Before the unification of the CCG, the typical Border Guard Maritime Police boats included the 130 ton Type 218 patrol boat (100 boats), armed with twin 14.5mm machine guns, assorted speedboats, and few larger patrol ships. The largest ship in Chinese Border Patrol Maritime Police service was the 1,500 ton Type 718 cutter (31101 Pudong).[citation needed]

In March 2007, it was reported that the PLAN had transferred two repurposed Type 053 Frigates (renamed Type 728 cutter after the remodeling) (44102, ex-509 Changde; 46103, ex-510 Shaoxing) to the Coast Guard and re-numbered them as Haijing 1002 & Haijing 1003. At the time these ships were the largest vessels in the China Coast Guard inventory. Three more Type 053s were transferred in 2015 (31239, 31240, 31241).[35]

In May 2017, it was reported that China had deployed the 12,000 ton Zhaotou-class patrol cutter China Coast Guard Haijing 3901 (cutter No. 1123 in USI numbers), later renumbered Haijing 5901, to patrol its claimed islands in the disputed South China Sea.[36][37] The CCG 5901 is the world's biggest coast guard cutter, and is larger than the U.S. Navy's 9,800 ton Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers or the 8,300-9,300 ton Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers.[a][38] The CCG 3901 cutter is armed with 76mm H/PJ-26 rapid fire naval guns, two auxiliary guns, and two anti-aircraft guns. A second unit, 2901 was deployed in 2020.[39]

Between mid 2021 and January 2023, the Coast Guard received 22 coastal defense Type 056 corvettes transferred from the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy.[40]

A 2019 estimate of the total number of hulls that can be deployed by the CCG counted 140 regional and oceangoing patrol vessels (more than 1,000 tons displacement), 120 regional offshore patrol boats (500 to 999 tons), 450 coastal and riverine patrol craft (100 to 499 tons), and 600 inshore patrol boats/minor craft (<100tons).[41][42][34]


CCG ships are staffed by People’s Armed Police personnel.[43] China Coast Guard Academy is a dedicated institution that provides training for personnel entering the CCG.[44]


The CCG has dozens of bases and facilities up and down the coast of China, some very small, their variegated nature again the result of the Coast Guard's mixed origin. The following are some of the largest and most significant.[34]

Major CCG Facilities
Base Name Province Coordinates
Beihai Guangxi 21°29′06″N 109°05′02″E / 21.485°N 109.084°E / 21.485; 109.084
Fangchenggang Shiping Guangxi 21°37′34″N 108°18′58″E / 21.626°N 108.316°E / 21.626; 108.316
Qinzhou Guangxi 21°44′10″N 108°38′20″E / 21.736°N 108.639°E / 21.736; 108.639
Jinzhou Liaoning 40°50′46″N 121°06′11″E / 40.846°N 121.103°E / 40.846; 121.103
Fuzhou Guling Fujian 26°03′18″N 119°21′11″E / 26.055°N 119.353°E / 26.055; 119.353
Fuzhou Tingjiang Fujian 26°04′26″N 119°30′47″E / 26.074°N 119.513°E / 26.074; 119.513
Xiamen downtown Fujian 24°28′01″N 118°03′54″E / 24.467°N 118.065°E / 24.467; 118.065
Xiamen CCG base Fujian 24°30′40″N 118°03′54″E / 24.511°N 118.065°E / 24.511; 118.065
Dalian Mianhuadao Shandong 39°00′22″N 121°40′30″E / 39.006°N 121.675°E / 39.006; 121.675
Dalian Wantong Shandong 39°00′36″N 121°42′32″E / 39.010°N 121.709°E / 39.010; 121.709
Yantai Yangmadao Shandong 37°26′38″N 121°34′55″E / 37.444°N 121.582°E / 37.444; 121.582
Yantai Zhifu Bay Shandong 37°32′42″N 121°23′31″E / 37.545°N 121.392°E / 37.545; 121.392
Tianjin Dongjiang Tianjin 38°58′44″N 117°48′07″E / 38.979°N 117.802°E / 38.979; 117.802
Guangzhou Taihe Guangdong 23°06′32″N 113°23′42″E / 23.109°N 113.395°E / 23.109; 113.395
Huangpu Changzhou Guangdong 23°04′37″N 113°25′55″E / 23.077°N 113.432°E / 23.077; 113.432
Huangpu Luntou Guangdong 23°04′41″N 113°22′30″E / 23.078°N 113.375°E / 23.078; 113.375
Shantou Guangdong 23°21′11″N 116°41′17″E / 23.353°N 116.688°E / 23.353; 116.688
Zhanjiang Tiaoshun Guangdong 21°17′10″N 110°24′32″E / 21.286°N 110.409°E / 21.286; 110.409
Qinhuangdao fishing wharf Hebei 39°55′16″N 119°37′01″E / 39.921°N 119.617°E / 39.921; 119.617
Qinhuangdao coal terminal Hebei 39°56′06″N 119°40′05″E / 39.935°N 119.668°E / 39.935; 119.668
Shanghai Fuxingdao Shanghai 31°17′17″N 121°33′40″E / 31.288°N 121.561°E / 31.288; 121.561
Shanghai Gaoqiao Shanghai 31°21′25″N 121°36′50″E / 31.357°N 121.614°E / 31.357; 121.614
Shanghai port facility Shanghai 31°23′02″N 121°32′56″E / 31.384°N 121.549°E / 31.384; 121.549
Nantong Jiangsu 31°54′29″N 120°54′36″E / 31.908°N 120.910°E / 31.908; 120.910
Haikou port Hainan 20°01′52″N 110°16′41″E / 20.031°N 110.278°E / 20.031; 110.278
Haikou Haidian River Hainan 20°03′14″N 110°19′23″E / 20.0539°N 110.323°E / 20.0539; 110.323
Sanya Hainan 18°13′59″N 109°29′31″E / 18.233°N 109.492°E / 18.233; 109.492
Wenchang Hainan 19°33′36″N 110°49′30″E / 19.560°N 110.825°E / 19.560; 110.825
Qingdao Tuandao Inlet Shandong 36°03′00″N 120°17′53″E / 36.050°N 120.298°E / 36.050; 120.298
Qingdao port area Shandong 36°04′55″N 120°18′32″E / 36.082°N 120.309°E / 36.082; 120.309
Qingdao Huangdao Shandong 36°00′18″N 120°16′19″E / 36.005°N 120.272°E / 36.005; 120.272
Zhoushan Waichangzhi Zhejiang 29°58′48″N 122°04′55″E / 29.980°N 122.082°E / 29.980; 122.082
Ningbo CCG Academy Zhejiang 29°56′42″N 121°42′36″E / 29.945°N 121.710°E / 29.945; 121.710
Wenzhou Lucheng Zhejiang 28°01′30″N 120°40′19″E / 28.025°N 120.672°E / 28.025; 120.672

See also


  1. ^ Although the Zhaotou are not equipped with the electronics or armament to make them even vaguely comparable warships. The Zhaotou are armed for constabulary work, would not survive frontline use in war. Their large displacement mostly provides endurance and internal space


  1. ^ "Deployment arrangement from State Council of the People's Republic of China". Archived from the original on 2018-03-10. Retrieved 2018-01-04.
  2. ^ a b Miura, Kacie. "The Domestic Sources of China's Maritime Assertiveness Under Xi Jinping" (PDF). Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 May 2023. Retrieved 19 May 2023.
  3. ^ Defense News
  4. ^ – Articles – China's coast guard to be under military police Archived 2018-03-22 at the Wayback Machine NHK World, March 22nd 2018
  5. ^ Tate, Andrew (June 26, 2018). "Control over China Coast Guard to be transferred to CMC". Jane's Information Group. Archived from the original on July 6, 2018. Retrieved July 6, 2018. Legislation passed by the National People's Congress (NPC) on 22 June will implement changes announced in March that the CCG will come under the control of the People's Armed Police Force (PAPF) and, ultimately, the command of China's Central Military Commission (CMC).
  6. ^ "China flexes maritime muscle with bigger, tougher coast guard ships". Nikkei Asia. Archived from the original on 2024-06-07. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  7. ^ Wei, Changhao (22 June 2018). "NPCSC Defers Vote on E-Commerce Law, Grants Law Enforcement Powers to Military-Controlled Coast Guard". NPC Observer. Archived from the original on 29 November 2020. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  8. ^ Tian, Yew Lun (22 January 2021). "China authorises coast guard to fire on foreign vessels if needed". Reuters. Archived from the original on 22 January 2021. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  9. ^ "The Coast Guard Law of the People's Republic of China". Ministry of Defense, Japan. Archived from the original on 2024-02-18. Retrieved 2024-06-08.
  10. ^ a b c Hope, Arran (June 21, 2024). "New China Coast Guard Regulation Buttresses PRC Aggression in the South China Sea". Jamestown Foundation. Archived from the original on 2024-06-24. Retrieved 2024-06-22.
  11. ^ "China Coast Guard: On a Trajectory for Peace or Conflict? | Center for International Maritime Security". 2022-02-16. Archived from the original on 2024-06-07. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  12. ^ "China Coast Guard launches "Blue Sea 2021" Special Law Enforcement Operation". Archived from the original on 2024-06-02. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  13. ^ "China Coast Guard launches "Blue Sea 2021" Special Law Enforcement Operation". Archived from the original on 2024-06-02. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  14. ^ "The Bureau of Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the". Archived from the original on 2024-06-02. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  15. ^ "Hainan Coast Guard Saves 2 Fishermen Trapped in a Capsized Ship". Archived from the original on 2024-06-02. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  16. ^ "China Coast Guard, Russian Federal Security Service sign MoU". Archived from the original on 2024-06-02. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  17. ^ "Russia's Coast Guard cooperation with China is a big step, Arctic security expert says". The Independent Barents Observer. Archived from the original on 2023-12-07. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  18. ^ "China and ROK Hold 2020 Fisheries Enforcement Meeting". Archived from the original on 2024-06-07. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  19. ^ "CCG and VCG Conduct First Joint Fishery Patrol of 2020 on Shared Fishing Grounds". Archived from the original on 2024-06-07. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  20. ^ "Logon Form". Archived from the original on 2017-10-13. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
  21. ^ "RealClearPolitics - Articles - U.S. Coast Guard Has Chinese aboard". Archived from the original on 2020-02-05. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
  22. ^ Zhao, Jian (28 March 2018). "International Cooperation of China Coast Guard: Practice and Proposal" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2024-04-05. Retrieved 2024-06-08.
  23. ^ a b Cave, Damien (13 June 2023) [12 June 2023]. "China Creates a Coast Guard Like No Other, Seeking Supremacy in Asian Seas". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 21 June 2023. Retrieved 21 June 2023.
  24. ^ Cooper, Eric (16 April 2024). "Persistent Gray Zone Aggression in the South China Sea". Archived from the original on 2024-06-04. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  25. ^ Chan, Eric (2 June 2021). "Escalating Clarity without Fighting: Countering Gray Zone Warfare against Taiwan (Part 2)". The Global Taiwan Institute. Archived from the original on 28 June 2021. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  26. ^ "China Coast Guard: On a Trajectory for Peace or Conflict? | Center for International Maritime Security". 2022-02-16. Archived from the original on 2024-06-24. Retrieved 2024-06-08.
  27. ^ Yamaguchi Shinji, Shinji; Yatsuzuka, Masaaki; Momma, Rira (2023). "China's Quest for Control of the Cognitive Domain and Gray Zone Situations" (PDF). National Institute of Defense Studies, Japan. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2023-10-12. Retrieved 2024-06-09.
  28. ^ "The China Coast Guard and Beijing's Strategic Ambiguity". Archived from the original on 2024-06-07. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  29. ^ "China Coast Guard: On a Trajectory for Peace or Conflict? | Center for International Maritime Security". 2022-02-16. Archived from the original on 2023-06-02. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  30. ^ "Control by Patrol: The China Coast Guard in 2023". Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative. Archived from the original on 2024-06-07. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  31. ^ Sevastopulo, Demetri; Hille, Kathrin (28 April 2019). "US warns China on aggressive acts by fishing boats and coast guard". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 8 July 2020. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  32. ^ "Philippines accuses China of water cannon attack in Spratly Islands". The Guardian. 2023-08-06. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 2023-08-07. Retrieved 2023-08-08.
  33. ^ Lariosa, Aaron-Matthew (4 June 2024). "Philippine Marines Drew Firearms as China Seized Second Thomas Shoal Airdrop, Says Philippine Military Chief". U.S. Naval Institute News. Archived from the original on 7 June 2024. Retrieved 7 June 2024.
  34. ^ a b c Erickson, Andrew S.; Hickey, Joshua; Holst, Henry (Spring 2019). "Surging Second Sea Force: China's Maritime Law-Enforcement Forces, Capabilities, and Future in the Gray Zone and Beyond". Naval War College Review. 72 (2): 8. Archived from the original on 2023-08-05. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  35. ^ Gady, Franz-Stefan. "How China Is Expanding Its Coast Guard". Archived from the original on 2023-09-26. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  36. ^ Ryan Pickrell (2017-05-11). "China Sent A 'Monster' Ship To Roam The South China Sea". The National Interest. Archived from the original on 2020-11-11. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  37. ^ "南海区2017年度西沙海域海岛保护联合执法行动圆满完成". South China Sea Branch, State Oceanic Administration. 2017-05-04. Archived from the original on 2017-05-19. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  38. ^ Charissa Echavez (2017-05-12). "China Deploys World's Biggest Coast Guard Cutter CCG 3901 to Patrol South China Sea". China Topix. Archived from the original on 2020-11-04. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  39. ^ "China Coast Guard's "Monster" Vessel Patrolled Vietnam's EEZ | Atlas News". 2024-02-21. Archived from the original on 2024-06-07. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  40. ^ Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China (PDF). Department of Defense (Report). 2020. p. 53. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2023-01-12. Retrieved 2023-01-08.
  41. ^ Reporter, I. M. R. (2023-03-15). "PLA Reserves, Paramilitary Forces and Capabilities, Recent Developments in 2021-22". IMR. Archived from the original on 2024-06-06. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  42. ^ Fish, Tim (2024-01-23). "Has the China Coast Guard Reached Its Limit?". Asian Military Review. Archived from the original on 2024-06-07. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  43. ^ "China Coast Guard". Archived from the original on 11 August 2010. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  44. ^ "China Coast Guard Academy". China Defence Universities Tracker. International Cyber Policy Centre, Australian Strategic Policy Institute. 29 October 2019. Archived from the original on 7 December 2022. Retrieved 7 December 2022.