Satellite photos show how Chinese ships anchored off the Philippines' Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef have swarmed the outcrop in the contested waters.
These Agence France-Presse were sourced from Maxar Technologies. Some are anchored together in clusers of as many as 40 vessels.
Boomerang-shaped Julian Felipe Reef, named after the composer of the national anthem "Lupang Hinirang" is located inside the Philippines EEZ or Exclusive Economic Zone, meaning it has the sole right to exploit resources in the area.
China is claiming almost the entire South China Sea, overlapping with claims by the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia.
Beijing also refuses to recognize a UN court's ruling that favored the Philippines and invalidated its vast claims.
While the Philippines has filed numerous diplomatic protests over China's actions that endangered the lives of Filipino fishermen, Beijing has built artificial islands over the disputed reefs.