We’re an international laughing stock: China responds to Aquino’s visit

By all accounts Philippines President Benigno Aquino III’s visit to China from August 30 to September 3 was a roaring success. More than 300 businesspeople and 13 cabinet members went along with the President, and they apparently got what they wanted and more: $1.3 billion in guaranteed Chinese investment in the year ahead, and up to $14 billion over the next five years.

The South China Sea front was relatively quiet, in keeping with the official rhetoric in the lead-up to the trip (Google news finds 2,375 stories on the topic of , namely that the dispute would not be allowed to affect economic cooperation.

In China, much was made of Aquino’s feel-good “root-seeking” trip to Fujian Province on September 3.

However, on the day the President left with billions in new investments secured, the Chinese press pounced on the Phillipines military’s announcement* of the upcoming purchase of another second-hand US warship: Just as Aquino concludes China visit, Philippines announces purchase of another warship for the South China Sea, shrieked headlines across the country, from Chongqing to Fujian and seemingly everywhere in between.

After such a high-profile state visit accompanied by the usual heavy official media coverage, with China’s virtuous international kindness being extolled, this was widely seen as yet another serious loss of face for the Chinese government. The story provoked more than 22,000 responses on Sohu, one of China’s main web portals. Here’s a selection of the top comments:

Using China’s money to buy American warships to interfere with China. That’s really lofty!

This is a good model of “shelving disputes and developing jointly”!

China and the Philippines are friendly, increase investment!???

America’s running dog, this is exactly the American way.

Shelve differences, jointly develop, yes! yes! yes! yes! yes! yes!

After I finished reading this article I thought of that picture of Hu [Jintao] clinking glasses with Aquino and couldn’t help but admire the rulers’ “IQ” [. . .] if people are good they get taken for a ride, if a horse is good they get ridden – this idea was completely proven long ago, did you really not know?! How long are you going to make the Chinese people lose face for? Are you alright? If not, get someone else in quick~~

It’s a pity the Sohu thread doesn’t include information about how many people recommended each post. More than 22,000 individually written comments would suggest, at a guess, at least 100,000 participants in the discussion, a pretty big number even by Chinese standards.

The discussion on Phoenix Online attracted 48,072 participants and 219 comments. The top responses once again suggest that for a great many Chinese people this was a massive loss of face:

When I saw this headline I just laughed! [4109 recommends]

Remember Chairman Mao, he really was a strategist and statesman! [3566]

The Filipino people are warmly congratulating their President on his consummate successful in his visit to China! [2570]

Don’t abuse others! We always knew they were shameless, we just thought we were too cool, insisted on giving them face and money and now they’re buying weapons to fight us with – we’re a great big international joke! [2482]

We should bear in mind the ancient teaching: a bowl of rice nourishes a saviour, a ton of rice nourishes an enemy. [1920]

It’s hard to disagree – Hu does indeed seem to have been slapped with a wet trout. But the “netizens” don’t seem to realize that people around the world pay almost no attention; what seems to them to be a loss of face for the Chinese nation in front of the world is far, far more of a loss of face for the Chinese Communist Party in front of the Chinese nation.

======

* Philippines military chief Eduardo Oban announced that he expected to buy a second Hamilton-class cutter from the US to help safeguard the country’s South China Sea interests. AFP appeared to see nothing inflammatory or contradictory about this:

MANILA — The Philippines hopes a territorial dispute over the South China Sea will ease after President Benigno Aquino’s trip to China, the nation’s military chief said Saturday.

But Manila will continue to build its naval patrol capability, General Eduardo Oban said, adding that he expects the Philippine navy to acquire a second Hamilton-class cutter from the United States next year.


4 Comments on “We’re an international laughing stock: China responds to Aquino’s visit”

  1. […] We’re an international laughing stock: China responds to Aquino’s visit […]

  2. […] of “treasure the memory of Chairman Mao”-type comments in comment threads of late. They were absolutely dominant last year. If the portals have indeed received instructions to reduce Maoism in […]

  3. […] of “treasure the memory of Chairman Mao”-type comments in comment threads of late. They were absolutely dominant last year. If the portals have indeed received instructions to reduce Maoism in […]

  4. […] at Phoenix on a foreign policy issue. That list has been growing since mid-2011, when early posts on here kept encountering the site’s overwhelmingly Maoist comment threads on the South China […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s