By Herman Tiu Laurel
At least once every two weeks the “China threat” manufacturing sector churns out a novel piece of fake news or twist some news or a biased interview to create a “China threat” headline and start a series of “talking heads” interviews on CNN, ANC and other yellow media.
Of late what went viral was the presentation of the new China coast guard law and the fake “declaration of war.”
Two weeks ago, it was the “New China coast guard law” and Inquirer in-house China basher ex-justice Antonio Carpio opined about the “legal virus” it represented, followed by Sen. Riza Hontiveros and a host of downstream chorus.
The sensationalized biased report was promptly debunked by 40-year-young ASEAN Post writer Ms. Anna Rosario Malindog-Uy in SovereignPH.com and followed by Manila Times columnist Bobi Tiglao as one of Inquirer’s fake news.
SCS occupied islands constructions
Recently, the “China threat” factory spewed another issue.
Jarius Bondoc of the Philippine Star spins a perfidious story from “China has taken P 9.7-trillion in reefs, fish – and counting” that raises the fish-mongering story of alleged damage from Chinese poaching and construction at the reclaimed islands.
What’s the truth about poaching? In 2018, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana was headlined by the media for saying, “Vietnam most frequent poachers in PH waters.”
What about the construction on SCS occupied islands?
Last 6 March 6 2020, Philippine media reported that “’PH rehab of Pag-asa Island facilities progressing’… Most of the dredging to the north is complete and it seems clear… being turned into a small harbor…”
In the summer of 2019, the Voice of America reported “How Vietnam Quietly Built Up 10 Islands in Asia’s Most Disputed Sea.” Why are these off the radar of Jarius Bondoc? As far as Bondoc and his colleagues are concerned, China is the only target even if China is the most environmentally conscientious in its construction activities as it is acutely aware of the spotlight on them.
China’s fishing bans, hope for SCS fisheries
Indeed, China has one of the world’s biggest – if not its biggest – fishing fleet. After all, it has the largest population of any country in the world to feed. Should China be faulted for this? No, especially because China is probably the most conscientious in conservation efforts.
Conservation, preservation and fisheries development to perpetuate and increase fisheries resources of the China Sea is among the responsibilities, like Climate Change response, that China has taken historically as a serious responsibility.
In 2017, a FAO paper on the PROC’s fishery profile reported that – since the Xia Dynasty (1800 BC) – China has had three-month summer fishing bans in the East China Sea; since 1999, these bans have been extended to the SCS. China’s bans have become stricter since 2018 – and given its universal reputation as being a stern implementer of its laws, Chinese fishing fleets are overwhelmingly in compliance.
Unfortunately, some countries, as the VOA reported in “How Vietnam, Philippines Will Get around China’s Fishing Ban in Disputed Sea”, find compliance difficult even as China “goes easy” on them. According to some accounts, the Vietnamese outnumber the Chinese fleet in the SCS because the latter has spread out its hundreds of thousands of fishing boat in all the seas of the world.
In 2018, a common agreement amongst the Philippines, China and Vietnam was proposed for the traditional fishing grounds shared by the three. China has also been developing inland and off-shore aquaculture to supplement fisheries, and these have been offered to SEA countries including the Philippines.
Positive measures such as agreements amongst that regional stakeholders are the toics to promote instead of having the media push disinformation against one country.
Three fingers pointing back
As the “China threat” media industry points its finger at China, it should realize that there will always three fingers pointing back at themselves. Take the problem of depletion of fisheries resources: the Philippines has itself to blame for the collapse of its once-flourishing coastal fisheries as the articles I cite below illustrates.
In 2018, the New York Times reported studies on the state of Philippine reefs published by the Philippine Journal of Science that had found, “there are no longer any reefs in excellent condition, and 90 percent were classified as either poor or fair” due to the rampant dynamite fishing in the country. As we all know, reefs are the breeding ground of fishes, and we have destroyed the precious resource of the country.
Writing in the Business World, Rolando T. Dy says, “The decline in fishery production is largely a result of the destruction of coral reefs, which serve as habitat for marine organisms. Coral reefs are suffering despite long-term measures outlawing damaging fishing practices.”
And we may add, due to the scapegoating of China instead of rationalizing and disciplining our own fisheries industry as China does its own.
The disorder of Philippine governance is a major reason for the fisheries decline. When I ran the Philippine Refugee Processing Center in Morong, Bataan, I undertook projects to help the impoverished Morong community. One project was the artificial reef construction and anti-dynamite fishing campaigns we had launched where I had to carry an Armalite to protect myself during raids.
Sources of “China threat” disinformation
To impress his readers, Jarius Bondoc relied on some data from Prof. Anders Corr, Phd. I have exposed Corr’s background ever since his 2017 article entitled “New Philippine Debt of $ 167-billion could balloon to $ 452-billion: China will benefit. In his article, Corr cited the ridiculous interest rate of 20% per annum that China is supposed to be charging for its loans, when it is actually just around 2 % .
From his profiles comes this – this professor “led the U.S. Army Social Science Research and Analysis group in Afghanistan, which oversaw 600 Afghan contract employees on 44 survey projects, and he conducted quantitative predictive analysis of insurgent attacks.
“Corr conducted analysis at US Pacific Command (USPACOM) and U.S. Special Operations Command Pacific (SOCPAC) on catastrophic risks for U.S. national security in Asia, … and red team modeling and simulation for the Defense Department of terrorist attacks against extremely sensitive military installations, and worked on social networking for early warning of biological weapons of mass destruction.”
In tandem with one Gregory Poling, Corr leads US SCS propaganda operations in the Philippines, Nepal and Bangladesh, feeding hacks like Richard Heydarian, Jay Batongbacal, Bondoc and others.
The US operates a network of hacks, including in the academe, its Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and down through the AMTI (Asia Maritime Transparency Institute) which Batongbacal runs, and through the Albert del Rosario Institute of the infamous Noynoy Aquino Foreign Affairs secretary who oversaw the “arbitral tribunal” comedy.
The US maintains this network of mendicant Filipinos who serve US hegemony in the country and region in exchange for any benefits from PDRs (Philippine Depository Receipts) for media companies, and consultancies, NGO funding or (even) for hacks and political backing for those aspiring presidential wannabees now who are calling Duterte’s VFA payment demand as “extortion” instead of just compensation.
Hope from China, nitpicking from US
In Davos, President Xi Jinping in Davos called for “the world together to tackle global challenges…” China’s startlingly positive economic prospects as the world nears the second year of its COVID-19 pandemic is described by the IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva as “a positive impulse for the world economy” and the sustained consumer demand from China as “a much-needed relief.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the US and EU are struggling with vaccine shortages (brands that senators Poe, Lacson, Hontiveros and Pangilinan pushed), China has provided vaccine aid to 53 countries, both East and West. This Chinese initiative is all these in the spirit of what I call “China’s humanitarian-socialist assistance” to the “Community of Shared Future for Mankind.”
While US media scapegoats China for Covid-19 and lately accusing China of “withholding data” from the W.H.O. experts’ team, WHO mission member Dr. Peter Daszak rejecting the S allegation said “… I found trust and openness with my China counterparts. We did get access to critical new data…” as China assists the global community seeking the answers to the pandemic challenges.
President Biden’s first call to President Xi ended on a seemingly hopeful tone – none of the acrimony that was typical of Trump’s time. US pols and media are testy on China for political posturing, Philippines mendicants need fakery for the klieg light – it is the duty of the independent and objective media to do report the fact as is.
And the fact is – China represents hope for humanity return to prosperity and for the Philippines’ economic rebound and growth.