MANILA — Overwhelming dislike over the Chinese embassy-produced music video showed that Filipinos saw through China’s propaganda as the world struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic, which spread from its city of Wuhan, former Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio said.
As of Monday, the video promoting Philippine-China cooperation during the health crisis got at least 152,000 unfavorable reactions, while only 2,100 clicked the “like” button.
The title, “Iisang Dagat” (One Sea), also cut deep among Filipinos, who were dismayed by Beijing’s continued encroachment in Philippine waters, despite a landmark arbitration ruling that clarified maritime entitlements in the South China Sea.
“It has boomeranged on China. It has made the people more angry at China because they’re taking advantage of the pandemic,” he told an online press conference.
“We all know that this pandemic came from China, and China tried to suppress information at the start.”
Despite the pandemic, China has not ceased activities in the South China Sea where it reclaimed a number of features and fortified them with military and civilian structures.
CAN CHINA BE SUED?
The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier filed a diplomatic protest over China’s creation of 2 new administrative districts that cover areas claimed by the Philippines in the Spratlys.
Manila also protested a Feb. 17 incident in the West Philippine Sea where a Chinese warship pointed a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship.
In the meantime, Beijing has reached out to its neighbors with face masks and other medical supplies to help them combat COVID-19, which has killed more than 207,000 people and infected 2.9 million worldwide.
In the Philippines, the coronavirus has sickened 7,777 people with the death toll at 511 as of Monday.
The music video features images of Chinese doctors who came to the Philippines to share strategies against the pandemic. It also showed Philippine officials profusely praising China for donating medical equipment.
“I think China is trying to make up for its failures at the start of the pandemic and it’s also, at the same time, trying to take advantage of the pandemic,” said Carpio.
Beijing has been criticized for allegedly misleading the world about the true extent of the infection during its early stages in Wuhan.
But suing China will be difficult if, like other states, it enjoys sovereign immunity, said Carpio, who helped Manila advance its arbitration case against Beijing on the South China Sea disputes.
“Nobody can sue China in our courts without the consent of China. And in the same way, nobody can sue the Philippines in China without our consent,” he said.