South China's Hainan Province, which administers waters in the South China Sea, allows individuals to use uninhabited islands for tourism and construction purposes up to 50 years, an official document said on Wednesday.
Any entity or individual who wants to develop uninhabited islands needs to apply and provide development plans to provincial ocean administration authorities, according to the Department of Ocean and Fisheries of Hainan Province.
The time frame for the use of uninhabited island is 15 years for aquaculture, 25 years for tourism and amusement purposes, 30 years for the salt and mineral industry, 40 years for public welfare projects and 50 years for harbor and shipyard building.
Island development should take into consideration island resources, environmental and ecological protection.
Provincial ocean administration authorities will do field research and examine whether the use of the islands fulfills legal requirements or influence the security of seaways and islands for national defense.
On Thursday, the State Oceanic Administration also released a guideline on establishing a system of using uninhabited islands by 2020.
The development of uninhabited islands by then should make protection a priority, have clear property rights, and is effective in allocating resources.