The Chinese Embassy in Manila on Friday night criticized the United States-based firm Simularity for “discrediting” Beijing over its report that called on Chinese ships to stop dumping human waste in the Spratlys.
“The Chinese Embassy strongly condemns the said company’s act of fabricating facts, violating professional ethics, and maliciously spreading fake news against China. For a long time, anti-China forces like this company have spared no efforts to produce lies and hype up the South China Sea issue to discredit and demonize China, create hatred and anti-China sentiments in the Philippines,” the embassy said in a statement.
It also accused the firm of sowing “discord between China and the Philippines so as to serve their own political agenda.”
Meanwhile, the embassy said it is “willing to work” with countries along the coast of the South China Sea, including the Philippines, “to eliminate interference and jointly maintain peace and stability” in the region.
The geospatial artificial intelligence company, using satellite imagery, showed on July 12 that hundreds of ships anchored at the Spratlys are dumping raw sewage into the reefs they are occupying, apparently referring to China.
Simularity noted that the damage in the past five years is even visible from space and directly affects the fish stocks of the entire South China Sea.
“This is a catastrophe of epic proportions and we are close to the point of no return. This Needs To Stop Immediately,” it said, adding the hashtag “#ChinaStopShittingOnTheSpratlys”.
The report, however, was questioned after it used a picture that was mistaken as a Chinese ship and was eventually used by a news organization as an accompanying photo.
Simularity later said it regrets putting the image in its report but clarified that it did not lie about the picture because it never claimed that it was of the Spratlys or that its research was based on this single image.
In a July 15 tweet, it also denied being biased against the Chinese, saying its research and reports are science-based.
“We are not biased against the Chinese. We do science-based research and report on our findings. If any country is doing things they should not be doing, and we can see that from satellite imagery, they are fair game for our reporting,” it said.
The Department of National Defense (DND) is currently looking into the reports and has directed the Western Command which has jurisdiction over the West Philippine Sea to verify and investigate.
Malacañang said it would also wait for the investigation’s result before issuing a comment as it emphasized the importance of according neighbors the “presumption of good faith.”