China plays dirty

By Artchil B. Fernandez

The thief is getting more and more desperate these days. It is now shedding off any pretense of diplomacy, dropping off the niceties as it frantically clings to straws. With no moral, legal or historical legs to stand on for its bogus claim, China now plays dirty to justify its theft of Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea.

The past weeks revealed the dirty tactics China is currently using to insist on its robbery of a significant portion of the country. The dark side of China is unmasked and exposed.  It is now employing underhanded means to steal significant parts of the Philippines.  China is even resorting to illegal activities for its patently unlawful grab.

To lend credence to its highly questionable claim that there is now a “new model” arrangement on the status of BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal, it released a part of the transcript of an alleged phone conversation between a Chinese Embassy officer and former chief of the Western Command (Wescom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos.  China’s embassy asserts that in the conversation Philippine officials agreed to transport only food, water, and humanitarian supplies to the outpost in Ayungin Shoal.

Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos clarified that an official from China’s embassy called him but they did not discuss matters related to the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea.  “I thought he was just going to greet me ‘Happy New Year,’” Carlos narrated. “We did not discuss the ‘new model.’  The terms ‘common understanding, new model’ were not part of our conversation.”

Carlos slammed China for recording the call which is an illegal activity.  “But I condemned the act of the Chinese Embassy to record the conversation without my consent much more to divulge it to the public with malicious twists and manipulation in order to appear that our discussion supported the corrosive narratives of the PRC (People’s Republic of China),” he said.  Recording phone conversation is a violation of the country’s anti-wiretapping law.

Beyond doing illegal activities in the country, top military officials believe the conversation between Carlos and China’s embassy official was digitally manipulated.  “Transcripts can easily be fabricated, and audio recordings can be manufactured by using deepfakes,” AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. declared.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also condemned China’s dirty action.  “Resorting to tactics, such as releasing unverifiable recordings of supposed conversations with Philippine officials, could demonstrate efforts to sow discord and confusion among Philippine agencies and the Filipino public,” the DFA said in a statement.

Aside from breaking Philippine law, China is upping the ante of its threat and intimidation.  Recently China approved a new regulation authorizing its coast guard to detain for up to 60 days without trial foreign trespassers who cross its claimed border.

Under Chapter 14 of the new “Provisions on Administrative Law Enforcement Procedures of Coast Guard Agencies,” a 92-page document, China will detain foreigners suspected of violating its borders.  China Coast Guard (CCG), Chapter 2 of the new rules says is authorized to deal with matters that happened in “waters under the jurisdiction of our country.”  This gives CCG legal cover to harass and intimidate Filipino fishermen in West Philippine Sea.  These new rules take effect on June 15 this year.

DFA said the new rule of China is not applicable to territories, maritime zones, or jurisdiction of other states as this would “violate other sovereign states’ rights and entitlements under international law.”  China’s domestic rule according to the DFA “cannot be applied nor enforced in the high seas under international law,”

“China would be in direct violation of international law should it enforce these new regulations in the waters and maritime features within the illegal, null and void, and expansive 10-dash line, which would effectively cover areas of the West Philippine Sea where the Philippines has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction, or in the high seas,” the DFA said in a statement.

China’s dirty trick is further implicated in the strange case of Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo.  Is she a spy that came in from the cold?  This is the question that hounds not only the Senate investigation but the whole nation.  Her identity is shrouded with mystery as her testimony in the Senate and the facts do not add up.

Prior to her election as mayor, nobody in Bamban is aware of her existence.  Her birth certificate was registered 17 years after her birth.  She has no recollection of her childhood or her growing up years.  Her claimed parents may not be real due to the absence of their birth certificates.  Guo said she had a simple life in a farm yet owns a chopper and a fleet of 16 cars including a McLaren 620R worth Php16.7 million.  Her name appeared on the voters’ list only in 2018 (?) or 2021 and ran for mayor in the 2022.

Alice Gou’s opaque, obscure, and highly suspicious background prompted Sen. Risa Hontiveros to ask. “Is Mayor Alice, and those like her with mysterious backgrounds, working as an asset for China? Planted in our country so that they will be able to influence Philippine politics?” Sen. Loren Legarda fears China’s “creeping invasion.”

Latest events and incidents reveal China is playing it dirty with the Philippines.  It is deploying illegal means, heightening its aggression thru threat and intimidation, could be seeding the country with spies and assets or initiating a creeping invasion.  These nefarious schemes are done in furtherance of China’s imperialist ambition.

Rising China is not peaceful but forceful.  China has joined the imperialist club which was once the domain of Western powers that carved out China.  China today becomes the enemy it once derides.

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