HomeCommentaryBully Communist China shrieks as Philippines starts fighting back

Bully Communist China shrieks as Philippines starts fighting back

Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang feigned a peace mission to Manila last April 21-23. He met with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. purportedly “to tone down the rhetoric.” Qin’s wolf-warrior ambassador Huang Xilian had inflamed Filipinos by threatening the livelihoods of 150,000 countrymen working in Taiwan.

Those very days, however, Chinese gunboats were harassing Filipinos in the West Philippine Sea. A hundred Chinese maritime militia trawlers swarmed Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef, barring Filipino fishers from approaching. A Chinese warship circled Pag-asa Island.

Worse, two China Coast Guard vessels prevented Filipino patrols from resupplying sailors at Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal. CCG-5201 and 4202 are 110 meters long, while the Philippine Coast Guard’s Malapascua and Malabrigo are 44 meters.

As Malapascua drew near, 5201 perilously, feloniously sped across its path only 40 yards away. Had the skipper not swiftly cut the engine and reversed full throttle, Malapascua would have collided with the bully more than twice its size. CCG-4202 then shadowed Malabrigo to Escoda (Sabina) Shoal in Recto (Reed) Bank.

Unknown to Qin and the WPS trespassers, Filipino and foreign newsmen were aboard the PCG patrols. Docking the day after Qin departed, they were able to transmit videos and reports.

The world witnessed the double-faced Chinese Communist Party. While CCP’s envoys propagandize amity, it provokes armed conflict beyond its boundaries. Under international law, the WPS is the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone. It is 550 miles beyond China’s own EEZ.

The CCP had grown too spoiled with the previous admin’s acquiescence. It thought the PCG would slink away from confrontation. But those shameless six years are over. Filipino coastguards are again raring to defend the WPS against trespassers. Marine, sailors, and airmen are jointly patrolling and exercising with America, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Australia, and Japan.

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Communist China had pushed the Philippines to the wall. Napuno na ang salop (container is full), enough is enough. The Philippines is finally standing up to the bully. Allies are rallying around.

Now the CCP is shrieking that everyone’s ganging up on it. That’s the old bully antic. It will taunt, kick sand in the face, punch in the back. But the bully needs confronting. Or else it will victimize forever.

Communist China bullied the Philippines for three-and-a-half decades. In 1988-1989, as coup attempts rocked Manila, Beijing grabbed six reefs: Zamora (Subi), Kagitingan (Fiery Cross), McKennan (Hughes), Calderon (Cuarteron), Mabini (Johnson South), and Burgos (Gaven).

In 1995 Beijing occupied and fortified Panganiban (Mischief) Reef 120 miles off Palawan. In 2012 it annexed Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal 123 miles off Zambales. As Manila protested, Beijing concreted airstrips and planted missiles on Zamora and Kagitingan in 2013.

Communist China not only ignored the Philippines’ 2016 maritime arbitral victory at The Hague. It even stepped-up sea aggression.

Chinese coastguards drove away Filipino fishers from Panatag with water cannons and machine guns. Attack helicopters menaced resupply missions to Ayungin. Filipino oilmen were stopped from drilling gas at Recto’s Sampaguita Field. 

In 2017 Chinese warships blockaded Sandy Cay within the territorial waters of Pag-asa Island, Kalayaan, Palawan. In 2019 at Recto a Chinese maritime militia steel trawler rammed an anchored Filipino wooden boat, then left at sea 22 fishers thrown overboard.

Also 2019 People’s Liberation Army frigates frequently trespassed Balintang Channel in Batanes. In Tawi-Tawi’s Sibutu Strait, two PLA warships zigzagged and stopped within Philippine territorial waters, flouting international maritime law.

In 2020, a PLA corvette aimed its weapons at a Philippine patrol near the Malampaya gas field, Palawan. In 2022, a PLA spy ship trespassed the internal Sulu Sea between Palawan and Panay for two days.

Pillage of Julian Felipe and Escoda occurs every Amihan, from December to May. PLA fighters routinely barge into Philippine airspace. PLA submarines explore even the Philippine Rise on Luzon’s eastern seaboard.

This year a CCG vessel cut the line of a Philippine Navy ship towing Chinese rocket debris within Pag-asa territorial waters. The CCG fired military-grade lasers at Filipino sailors.

Last April’s joint PH-U.S. exercises in the WPS included live fire of missiles and cannons by 5,000 Filipino and 12,000 American fighting men. Drills and talks were held with other navies. Closer ties were forged with countries similarly bullied by China – Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

None but brainwashed Chinese citizens believe the CCP screech that it’s the one being bullied.

Jarius Bondoc is an award-winning Filipino journalist and author based in Manila. He writes opinion pieces for The Philippine Star and Pilipino Star Ngayon and hosts a radio program on DWIZ 882 every Saturday. Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8 to 10 a.m., DWIZ (882-AM).

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