Started Sep 01, 2021 11:00AM UTC   •   Closing Sep 01, 2022 11:00AM UTC

Will the Chinese military or other maritime security forces fire upon another country's civil or military vessel in the South China Sea in the next six months?

This question is a metric for an issue campaign on the future of the DoD-Silicon Valley relationship. To learn more about this issue campaign and the relevance of this question, see the campaign's subpage and a related blog post

Related questions. This same question—forecasting a six-month risk level—has been published three times before: for the first half of 2021, the second half of 2021, and September 2021-February 2022. The final consensus forecasts for those questions were 11%, 14%, and 14%.

Context. The South China Sea is host to vast natural gas resources as well as a number of competing territorial claims. China has built military bases on several coral atolls and reefs in the South China Sea, and rejected an international tribunal's ruling that it has no historic rights claim to resources in certain sea areas. These bases now include sophisticated facilities meant to enable military operations in this strategic area. The U.S. conducts Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs) to demonstrate China’s lack of claim to the area, which have sometimes led to tense encounters between the U.S. and Chinese navies. China’s Maritime Militia and Coast Guard have also clashed with foreign fishing vessels in the area.

In past iterations of this question, several forecasters have analyzed the historical frequency of conflict of the type being forecasted here.

Data and resolution details. This question resolves based on popular media sources. "Fires upon" assumes the discharge of a weapon with lethal intent and does not include methods such as water cannons, rubber bullets, or ramming. If a shooting is claimed or reported to be made without lethal intent, e.g., a warning shot, it does not count. If intent is not reported, is disputed, or is reasonably ambiguous, it does count.

Chinese maritime security forces include the Coast Guard and Maritime Militia. The boundaries of the South China Sea are those established by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), an international standards body. The Taiwan Strait is not a part of the South China Sea. 

Question format. This question asks about the six month-period beginning with the following month. For example, a forecast made on August 17 is forecasting September 2021 through February 2022. It rolls over on the first of every month, functionally becoming a new question. To learn more about our new rolling risk question formats, see this blog post.

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