Our Privacy Statement & Cookie Policy

By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies, revised Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can change your cookie settings through your browser.

I agree

Manila's anti-China propaganda campaign will backfire

First Voice

Manila's anti-China propaganda campaign will backfire

Editor's note: CGTN's First Voice provides instant commentary on breaking stories. The column clarifies emerging issues and better defines the news agenda, offering a Chinese perspective on the latest global events.

Just one day after accusing Chinese fishermen of using cyanide in Huangyan Island, the Philippine authority said on Sunday there is no evidence showing China destroyed corals and marine resources in the island using cyanide.

Such disinformation is nothing new. In an attempt to take China's reefs and islands as its own, the Philippine government, while adept at illegally intruding into Chinese waters in the South China Sea, has resorted to a different tactic in recent months – creating waves among international public opinion and manipulating journalists to form a provocative narrative against Beijing.

The Philippine government has shown great enthusiasm in fabricating lies and staging incidents to defame China. In September last year, for instance, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), disguised as ordinary fishermen, approached Huangyan Island. They proceeded to submerge to cut some floats anchored in the ocean. In a subsequent press conference, the PCG presented an unidentified anchor as evidence of China's "interception." The anchor, as shown from comparison photos shared by Chinese netizens, is a common tool by Chinese fishermen.

After having staged incidents, the Philippines' next step was to invite Western media outlets for an intensive propaganda campaign. It has been for several times that Manila has brought anti-China journalists to intrude into China's waters. Ravenously feasting on every possible opportunity to smear China, Western media outlets are happy to collude with the Philippine government to distort facts. It is worth noting that the majority of anti-China reports on South China Sea "incidents" are reported by the West and the Philippines, and not other local media outlets in the region.

These media reports, while turning a blind eye to statements and responses from the Chinese side, deliberately depict China as an "evil" power bullying smaller nations in the South China Sea and undermining international rules. China's justified actions in the region are frequently defamed as "extremely reckless and dangerous harassment" and "risky intercepts."

A China Coast Guard ship drives away Philippine vessels intruding into waters of China's Spratly Islands on August 5, 2023. /China Coast Guard
A China Coast Guard ship drives away Philippine vessels intruding into waters of China's Spratly Islands on August 5, 2023. /China Coast Guard

A China Coast Guard ship drives away Philippine vessels intruding into waters of China's Spratly Islands on August 5, 2023. /China Coast Guard

By staging incidents and fabricating fake news in collusion with Western media, the Philippine government has demonstrated its unrivalled skills at playing the innocent bullying victim card. Via these dirty games, the Philippine government attempts to sway international public opinion and put more pressure on China – with the ultimate purpose to make China's reefs and islands its own.

But will the Philippines achieve its goal?

Manila's over-reliance on the West is playing with fire. To begin with, the Philippine government, while taking advantage of Western reports for selfish gains, is also a card by the West to contain China. The West is happy to fabricate lies and smear China. Admittedly, some Western politicians have voiced support for the Philippines over Manila-Beijing territorial disputes. But history has repeatedly proved that the U.S. will not sacrifice its interests for other countries. Washington's policies in countries such as Ukraine, Iraq, and Afghanistan, are self-revealing. 

In addition, China's determination in safeguarding its sovereignty cannot be underestimated. Manila's repeated provocations – either through military intrusion or propaganda campaign – will only stoke tensions, making a real military conflict more likely. To solve disputes, negotiation is the only solution. 

China's position on the South China Sea issue is clear and consistent. The Chinese government is committed to properly handling disputes through dialogue and consultation with countries concerned, and would like to work with ASEAN countries to safeguard peace and stability in the region. 

China's door to the negotiation table is always open. It is now Manila's turn to show some sincerity.

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at opinions@cgtn.com. Follow @thouse_opinions on Twitter to discover the latest commentaries in the CGTN Opinion Section.)

Search Trends