With friends like these

"Lest we are misunderstood, let us be clear."


A month ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping said he wants China to “expand its circle of friends” by revamping its image.

Xi told senior Communist Party officials it was important to present an image of a “credible, lovable and respectable China,” a report by the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

In light of these words, we respectfully suggest that China stop dumping human waste and sewage into the West Philippine Sea.

And, oh yes, we also ask—as a friend, of course—that China refrain from dismissing “as a piece of waste paper” Manila’s hard-earned legal victory over Beijing before the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration, which five years ago upheld the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.

These are not the actions of a friend. These are not the actions of a “credible, lovable and respectable” member of the international community.

Yet here we are, amid Beijing’s bleating about amity, struggling to deal with a disrespectful and even bellicose neighbor.

Simularity, which specializes in geospatial analysis and provides satellite data imagery, reported this week that Chinese ships have been dumping raw sewage every day for several years on reefs, creating harmful Chlorophyll-a blooms in the waters.

“It is so intense you can see it from space,” said Liz Derr, Simularity CEO.

Showing satellite images in the last five years, Derr said effluent from Chinese ships are causing elevated concentrations of Chlorophyll—a leading to “a cascade of reef damage that will take decades to recover even with active mitigation.”

“When the ships don’t move, the poop piles up,” she said. “The damage to the reefs in the last five years is visible and dramatic.”

Beijing, meanwhile, used the fifth anniversary of the Philippines’ legal victory before the PCA—acknowledged by the rest of the world—to dismiss the UN tribunal’s decision as a “piece of waste paper.” If that sounds eerily familiar, it’s perhaps because these were the same words that our own President used to describe the arbitral ruling in Manila’s favor.

In an attempt to counterbalance this atrocious behavior, Beijing has engaged in vaccine diplomacy, donating and selling us vaccines to deal with a global pandemic that started in its own country. We appreciate the help—but that doesn’t excuse the boorish lack of regard the Chinese are showing us.

Lest we are misunderstood, let us be clear.

Hey, China, stop pooping in our backyard—and show a little respect, will you? With friends like you, who needs enemies?

Topics: Editorial , Chinese President Xi Jinping , China , Xinhua news agency , West Philippine Sea , human waste , sewage , UN Permanent Court of Arbitration , Philippines’ exclusive economic zone
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