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Archive for May 3rd, 2012

This seems redundant but for brevity’s sake here is the factual background briefly:

  • Three weeks ago, or thereabouts, the Philippines largest warship stopped, detained, searched, and then attempted to make an arrest by hauling back to the Philippines a group of fishermen sheltering in Huangyan (above), a relatively large island in the group known by Anglophiles as the Scarborough Shoal. (Much of which is mere rock sticking out into the sun from the sea below.)
  • Two passing patrol boats from China’s fisheries department sped up to the warship, then parked themselves between the Made-in-USA guns and the fishing boats. (The fisheries patrol is somewhat akin to the maritime police or customs, but devoted to making sure fishermen don’t break ocean fishing rules or freelance on some other job. For a variety of reasons, fishermen on their part are required to report in by radio their locations at specified time intervals.)

Precedent cases can tell what would happen once the Filipino warship succeeds to tug home the Chinese fishing boat.

Back in Manila, before Reuters and Bloomberg cameras, Filipino authorities, looking tough, M-16 rifles across their chests, would parade the fishermen, heads bow, guilt written into their sun-tanned faces (guilt because they don’t have PhDs in international relations), before a roomful of white and Pinoy brown reporters serving AFP, BBC and so on – all salivating over what’s going to be announced:

“We caught this bunch of Chinkos stealing clams from OUR sea bed when we were out patrolling for pirates. They are arrested for violating our sovereignty and theft. But, they will be given a fair trial because we, the Philippines, observe the rule of law – unlike some countries.”

Back in their offices, these Anglophiles would type out the ‘story’, tap, tap, tap, then append to it, somewhere in the middle or at the bottom, passages that speak of ‘US protection for the freedom of navigation‘, China’s ‘assertiveness‘ and ‘territorial claims on all of the South China Sea‘. With this story, they would tell the world with the other imputation…

‘here, is one more evidence into Chinese greed on other people’s properties. This time clams; next time it will be oil!’

Since 1997, give or take a year, there have been endless accounts of provocations (an old Chinese map marker, above, was destroyed and replaced by the Filipino flag, above), harassment (fishermen arrested around Huangyan then taken back to the former American military base in Subic) and on several occasions outright violent intimidation (boats rammed). The short-wave radio and cell phone receiving installations in Huangyan (below) have since been destroyed. (Picture source 搜狐 sohu; acknowledgement, south sea conversations.)

*****

Using chartered passenger liners in Europe and its own aircraft, China would pluck 10,000 Chinese from the civil war in Libya last year. It would pay, handsomely, to rescue shipping crews and construction staff held as hostages in the Persian Gulf, off Somalia, in Sudan and Pakistan.

But why would China do nothing to end the misery of Chinese fishermen and the repeated intimidation and danger inflicted on them by a GI-serving brothel country called the Philippines? And the intimidation is happening at home, in a swathe of sea China say is theirs? Why put up with such provocations? America?

The most plausible answer is found (a) in geopolitical history and (b) in the nature of the danger.

Anti-Chinese racism is virulent in southeast Asia, practiced on at least five occasions the last 40 odd years with outright genocidal pogroms in Indonesia and Malaysia.

The Filipino terrorising Chinese on account of racism is now new, therefore. The Filipino racism stems from his sense that he is superior because he speaks English (in quack-duck tones), has the favours of white America, and has a western religion called Christianity. This feeling is written even into their constitutions copied from the US so that, of all southeast Asia, the Philippines is the only Anglophile, gweilo, pseudo orang putih state – a complete coconut, brown outside, white inside.

Unlike, say, the Thai or the Malay or the Indonesian, each with its own distinctive past and with customs that reflect it, the Filipino has no indigenous manifestation of the same, much less the pride of one. Hence, such things as ceremonial clothes displayed on national day parades, and even its national hamburger diet, are entirely plagiarized from the west. The Pinoy maids in Hong Kong substitute for the laundry shop since their mothers, post-Korea and post-Vietnam, had ceased to service the GI in bed.

If not its westernization, if not its plagiarism of Greece and its cultural connections to the Vatican, and if not by showing off her Uncle Sam’s muscles, how else is the Philippines to display its power and thereby to stake its claims, especially in the past two years?

On each occasion that the Philippines has terrorized Chinese fishermen, China would stay its hands, hence reducing its protest to speeches.

In the past, only once did China dispatched a so-called ‘volunteer’ ship to help, but not to stop the mass slaughter of Chinese and the plunder of their properties in Indonesia. It was merely to rescue those who survived. (The Indonesian is today attempting to make up for the past.)

Such rudimentary gestures recall the ancient Chinese war stories in which a young, beautiful girl from the court is dispatched to a barbarous Mongolian tribe in order to appease the latter. Such acts reflect the Chinese humanist tradition to put peace above everything else. Today, it’s peace above the lives of fishermen, and sovereignty, and the thing called dignity.

But here’s the problem: there are no Chinese palace girls today to appease the racist and belligerent Benigno Aquino or to serve the American GI. What follows then?

It is this:

The Philippines said Thursday (Apri 26, 2012) it will open a primary school on Zhongye, which will have two teachers and 35 students.

The plan came amid an ongoing standoff that has persisted for nearly half a month since two Chinese surveillance ships came to the rescue of Chinese fishermen who had been harassed by Philippine warships in waters near Huangyan Island.

In an effort to ease the tension, China withdrew its two vessels while the Philippine side has shown no signs of backing down. It called on other countries involved in maritime issues with Beijing to “take a stand” against China, but has gained little response so far.

China’s response? More spit:

Beijing Thursday demanded Manila stop any activities that may further complicate the South China Sea issue…

“We hope the Philippines can observe the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and refrain from making petty actions that may escalate tensions,” foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said. “We demand that Manila take Beijing’s concerns seriously, stop spreading fact-distorting claims and cease from asking other countries to intervene or to take sides.”

But many Chinese, ordinary people really, simply don’t buy this appeasement-by-imploring because their government is, in effect, abdicating its duty (to protect its people) and worse, sacrificing the commoners’ interest for a wider geopolitical objective. Or is China simply weak?

Samples of ordinary Chinese response, drawn from 500,000 plus comments at three sites, Sohu, NetEase, Phoenix (translation provided at south sea conversations and hereby acknowledged with thanks):

*If one country’s warships enter another country’s territory, that constitutes a declaration of war.

*If the other country ignores this, I can only understand it this way: Huangyan Island, and the islands of the South China Sea, essentially do not belong to that country.

*If we don’t strike now, we won’t even be be able to later. If you agree please recommend!” [27,676]

*We’re still not taking any action? Do [our leaders] need to have another meeting, cigarettes and alcohol.

*The whole country supports hitting the Philippines, what the hell are you waiting for? They’re so comfortable with their mistresses, the leaders haven’t gotten out of bed.

*I saw some early reports that said leaving (China withdrew its fisheries patrol boat) was to (‘defuse’) the situation. I’m very curious, since this is our historic territory, what does it have to do with any other country even if we sent 100 ships? To seek agreement from others to walk in one’s own doorway is just a joke.

*Is our navy just a guard of honour?

*敢犯我大汉着,虽远必诛!(better not translate)

*Fine, so it’s all over. The problem is now internationalised, we have missed the best opportunity for a military strike.

*Speechless. If it’s our territory, chase them away, if it’s their territory then leave immediately. What standoff? I have to swear….

*What’s China’s is China’s, what use are feeble spokesmen?

*Don’t the textbooks clearly indicate that the South Sea is China’s? What do we teach the kids now?

(more…)

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