WASHINGTON D.C. - Filipino and Vietnamese Americans here have found a common cause in pushing back against China’s belligerence in the South China Sea.
“We want to tell China that they need to observe international law but we need to do everything peacefully,” Ginie Nguyen, a spokesperson of the Viet-Am community told the Manila Mail at a prayer rally at the Martin Luther King monument last August 21.
She said they are joining the Filipino-led boycott of Chinese goods.
“From the East Vietnamese Sea to the West Philippine Sea, China is creating problems in many places. Since we are a small country, we want to tell them the weak, poor and small people have ways to fight back peacefully,” she explained.
About 50 Viet-Am and Fil-Am activists participated in the prayer rally. Eric Lachica, one of the convenors of the anti-China movement, said this was just the start of mass actions across the globe to protest China’s “creeping invasion” in the South China Sea.
He said they plan to stage pickets during the visit of top Chinese government officials in Washington D.C.
Lachica told the Manila Mail they received reports that ranking Chinese leaders were scheduled to visit in the next few weeks.
“We’re going to give him a warm welcome,” Lachica promised.
But the Chinese may already be a step ahead. A ranking Chinese military official flew in from Beijing unannounced to meet with US officials. Cai Yingting, deputy chief of the general staff of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was the 2nd senior Chinese military official in visit the US in the last 3 months.
Neither China nor the US announced Cai’s visit. He reportedly discussed escalating tension between China and her neighbors, particularly Japan. The US and Japan is holding a month-long naval maneuvers in the western Pacific.
Japan-China ties have deteriorated over a territorial dispute in the Diaoyu Islands.
Nguyen said China’s neighbors are increasingly facing the same problem.
“Today is the launch of boycott,” she said, “we are doing this for the long term until we reach our goal to stop violence in the South China Sea, and for China to honor the code of conduct and observe the sovereignty of other countries.”
“Prayers are action events to get community leaders engaged,” Lachica added.
But he feels that a boycott was something China can feel in more tangible terms. “This is going to be a long drawn out affair but if we can just make a 1 percent dent that would mean billions of dollars to the Chinese government.”