It is the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), adopted in April 1982, that currently regulates the international maritime order. This Convention codified a 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) system, which became a common law in an unusually short period in the history of the formation of international law, and significantly expanded the resource jurisdiction of coastal states via establishment of a new concept of continental shelf and so on. In addition to that, it defined deep seabed resources as the “common heritage of mankind” and had the International Seabed Authority - which represents all mankind – control this. And such changes in international maritime order have led to the coastal countries’ policies for expanding their maritime jurisdiction.
In this study, we considered the status on how the UNCLOS, concluded in 1982, was accepted in the Chinese domestic legislation and what specific rules have been applied to that. Among them, we intended to address the Territorial Sea & Contiguous Zone Act, and the EEZ & Continental Shelf Act, which have the significance of the Constitutional Scripture in China. Specifically, concentrating on three dimensions, i.e., the legislative background of maritime-related laws in China, the China’s enactment of the Territorial Sea & Contiguous Zone Act and the EEZ & Continental Shelf Act, and the China’s acceptance of the UNCLOS as a domestic law, we attempted to investigate what consistency and discrepancy might exist, when China accepts the new maritime law system through the UNCLOS.