Engage the Chinese people
Deng Xiaoping, paramount leader of the People’s Republic of China, said at the United Nations in 1974: “If one day China should change her color and turn into a superpower, if she too should play the tyrant in the world and everywhere subject others to her bullying, aggression and exploitation, the people of the world should expose it, oppose it and work together with the Chinese people to overthrow it.” Forty-seven years ago, or long enough for many to forget, Deng told peoples of the world to work together with the Chinese people to overthrow Chinese tyranny if such happens. What he feared has happened. China—its present regime, that is—is now the world’s super bully, aggressor, and exploiter. But its soft underbelly is the Chinese people. When conscious of the tyranny, the Chinese people will help the world to overthrow it. Therefore one must make sure that the Chinese people realize the tyranny. They must be told about it in Chinese, not in English. How many of them know about Deng’s warning and his pledge? The whole world should remind them of it; we Filipinos should lead in that. Let us prominently display Deng’s pledge in all our airports and seaports with connections to China, in all international languages, including Chinese, for travelers to see.
Show the Chinese people the true maps. The Chinese people do not know the truth, having been falsely taught for decades that the Chinese border extends from their mainland up to the coast of the Philippines. They think that “South China Sea” means a sea belonging to China. They must be shown true maps, written in Chinese, naming that sea as not theirs—why not “Southeast Asia Sea” instead. The maps should include “West Philippine Sea,” written in Chinese, meaning a sea exclusively belonging to the Philippines. Therefore, we need Filipino mapmakers who can work in Chinese.
The Chinese people must be shown the evidence of bullying, from the satellite pictures of hundreds of its maritime militia ships swarming in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, pretending to be seeking shelter from bad weather. The satellite videos should include Chinese-language audios. The blatant human, social, and environmental immorality of this oppression can be made easy for them to grasp.
All Filipinos with means to engage the Chinese people should do so. The Deng quotation that started this piece was from the business community: “Stop acting like a colonizer, PH business groups tell China,” 4/15/21, a statement by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Management Association of the Philippines, the Makati Business Club, and others. I think it is very important for the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, in particular, to get involved. Among the Filipinos with business with China, it is the Chinoy taipans who should lead in engaging their counterparts; they certainly have the communication skills and personal contacts to do so.
Make it easy for the Chinese people to learn the truth. Our ambassador to China, Chito Sta. Romana, tells me that Marites Vitug’s comprehensive book, “Rock Solid: How the Philippines won its maritime case against China,” is not in Chinese bookstores. He says it is not banned, but is not marketable, being in English. So it should be translated into Chinese immediately. There should be short versions (social postings, TV ads, films, music, cartoons, humor) that can inform the Chinese people through whatever media. Truth cannot be overused.
Filipinos who presently reside in China, for work and other reasons, need to know about Deng’s warning and pledge. They should tell their Chinese colleagues, clients, friends, and acquaintances, both adults and children, about Deng’s promise. They should focus on rank and file workers, not officials. Maximizing people-to-people relations is good.
Chinese academics are good people. I first visited China in 1980, with a special delegation of the Philippine Social Science Council, invited by our counterpart the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), to meet Chinese academics in Beijing and elsewhere. Our lengthy visit was soon after the Cultural Revolution, when academic freedom had been restored.
Our PSSC group was not accompanied by professional translators, but by English-speaking Chinese professors, many of whom had just ended years of forced exile from their universities and families, for “reeducation” such as farming. Their English was only a bit rusty. We easily bonded with them, moving everywhere together like campus mates.
Chinese surveys lack freedom to establish what the Chinese people feel. Market research is allowed, but questionnaires are censored. China’s failure to do the 2018 survey of the International Social Survey Program showed that religion is taboo (see my “Most religious, most prayerful,” Inquirer.net, 4/10/21). The consequence will be eventual loss of its right to participate in designing future cross-country surveys.
The truly credible polling group in China is the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute, run by the courageous Robert Chung, lifetime awardee of the World Association for Public Opinion Research-Asia. In the blaze of the democracy movement, HKPORI has been harassed, and even raided by the police.
The Chinese government, under president-for-life Xi Jinping, is afraid to reveal that the Chinese people, when armed with the truth, are bound to heed Deng Xiaoping’s pledge to work against its tyrannical behavior.
Engaging the Chinese people is permanent. The next case for arbitration will be on the unsubmerged islands, i.e. the land rather than the sea (Antonio T. Carpio, “The territorial dispute in the Spratlys,” Inquirer.net, 4/15/21). Throughout all, the Filipino people and the Chinese people must work together for justice in the world.
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