The report says the tour includes more than 10 islands in the contested Spratly and Paracel archipelagos. Amid the patriotic songs are performances depicting the families of the workers and military personnel waiting for them to return home.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea as its own. That claim will likely be rejected when an international tribunal rules on the matter in the coming weeks. The Philippines, which like other Southeast Asian nations has competing claims in the sea, brought the legal challenge a few years ago.

This week the Philippines provided some surreal theatrics of its own. Pugnacious Davao City mayor and presidential front-runner Rodrigo Duterte said that if China refuses to recognize the ruling of the international tribunal, which is also likely, he will personally ride a jet-ski to one of the contested Spratly islands while carrying a Filipino flag, which he will plant himself.

Additional reporting by Zheping Huang


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