The ‘addiction’ we export to China
We hate China for causing drug addiction to worsen in our country, because it plays host to drug syndicates that export shabu to our shores. But we have no guilt playing host to online gambling syndicates which are causing gambling addiction to worsen in China.
Huge shipments of shabu with telltale origins from China have repeatedly been intercepted in our country. Big-time shabu manufacturing laboratories operated by men from mainland China have also been busted several times in various parts of our country. And, despite President Duterte’s grant of favorable economic and political concessions to China, the latter has not reciprocated by showing elevated efforts to stop the flow of illegal drugs from its shores to ours.
All of these give us reason to rant against China for its role in worsening the drug addiction problem in our country.
However, we seem unmindful of the fact that, while we accuse China of causing one form of addiction to thrive in our country, the Philippines is similarly causing another form of addiction to flourish in China.
Gambling is illegal in China. This is the reason Chinese online gambling companies are flocking to our country to operate a business that’s prohibited in their country. These companies are managed, operated and largely manned by Chinese citizens. And they exclusively cater to gambling clients in mainland China.
What happens, therefore, is that we enable an illegal business to thrive in China by allowing them to set up shop in our country, beyond the reach of Chinese authorities, and enabling them to access online Chinese people who are addicted to gambling.
We even euphemistically call these businesses “online gaming,” in a shallow attempt to deodorize their ruinous effect on families and society in general. In reality, however, they are no different from gambling syndicates that are enabled to operate illegally in China via online connection.
All that we see from the flourishing online gambling industry in our country is the growth it brings to our domestic economy. There’s increased rental income because of higher occupancy demand in commercial buildings caused by these new companies, as well as increased demand for residential space for tens of thousands of Chinese personnel who have relocated to the Philippines to manage and operate these gaming companies.
There’s also increased local employment, because Filipinos are employed to perform a variety of functions, the most visible of which are women gambling dealers who are made to wear sexy clothes. There’s also the windfall earned by the government because of its percentage share in gambling profits, in addition to tax revenues.
But for every Filipino family that prospers because of these gambling companies, there’s a corresponding Chinese family that is ruined because of the gambling addiction of one of its members. The wealth creation brought by these online gambling companies to a Filipino family is built upon the wealth destruction caused to a Chinese family.
And yet, we as a people, including our government, close our eyes to this ugly reality. Do we justify this as our revenge for the drug addiction that China causes in our country? You cause drug addiction in my country, I will cause gambling addiction in your country in retaliation. An eye for an eye, an addiction for an addiction sort of thing?
If we condemn China for the shipments of shabu that originate from its shores, but at the same time we rake in vast amounts of wealth by exporting illegal gambling to China, who do we see when we look in the mirror? Do we see a people braced with moral integrity, or a citizenry enfeebled with moral hypocrisy?
Our grievance is against the Chinese government and members of Chinese drug syndicates, and not against a sweeping swath of the people of China. Let us not have our country’s wealth be the embittered fruit of ruined families, shattered dreams, stolen futures and broken lives.
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