Bottle appeal drifts across the Pacific



Pacific drift currents were used by a group of oceanographers to estimate the path of a drift bottle that was found on a beach of Barkley Sound in Vancouver Island by Richard Strickland on June 10, 1990. The Chinese rice wine bottle, which remained unopened until December 18, 1991, contained six leaflets, one appealing for the release of China's well-known dissident, Wei Jingsheng. The bottle was one of thousands set adrift as part of a propaganda effort from the islands of Quemoy and Matsu off mainland China shortly after Wei was sentenced in 1979 to 15 years in prison (see Figure 1 for locations). Wei was in poor health and still in prison when the bottle made its way across the Pacific Ocean.