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China Bullies and Gaslights Philippines, US in South China Sea

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The Chinese Coast Guard and its maritime militia sailed into Philippine waters around the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea, firing water cannons at Philippine vessels and crew seeking to re-supply a Philippine ship within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone. The US State Department called such actions by China “inconsistent with international law” and “unwarranted interference in lawful Philippine maritime operations.” The State Department has maintained that China has “no lawful claim” to that area.

But rather than standing down, China is attempting to gaslight the Philippines and the world into accepting its narrative. A spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defense stated that China “has sovereignty” over the area, which it calls “Nansha Qundao, including Ren’ai Jiao,” according to Xinhua. The area in dispute has always been a part of China, according to Global Times.

The CCP press also states that China “lawfully intercepted” the Philippine vessels, China’s actions towards the Philippines “was professional, restrained, and beyond reproach,” and that the “Philippine side ignored China’s goodwill and sincerity.”

Chinese media also paints the US, not China, as the aggressor. According to a spokesman from China’s Foreign Ministry, the US is “blatantly support[ing] the Philippines’ violation of China’s sovereignty, and its plot is doomed to fail,” according to Global Times. In responding to the incident, the US “continues to hype up the longstanding disputes between China [and its neighbors]” in order “to maintain hegemony and create a ‘security trap’” with those neighbors, according to the president of a Beijing think tank as cited by China Daily. The US has “no right to meddle” in the South China Sea” and is “creating trouble and sowing discord,” according to a spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defense as cited by that same article.

The CCP press pushes an alternative reality of international law to buttress its claims. The Philippines, not China, is in violation of international law, according to spokesmen of China’s Foreign Ministry and Coast Guard as cited by Global Times. The Philippines committed “illegal” acts by re-supplying its ship, and having its ship there in the first place, according to Global Times. Philippines v. China, or the South China Sea Arbitration, is “‘illegal, null and void’ as it violates international law[…]” according to a spokesman from the Chinese foreign ministry, as cited by China Daily. The spokesman further said that “China does not accept or recognize it, and will never accept any claim or action based on the [arbitration]. This position is clear and firm, and is a legitimate step to uphold the international rule of law.” A Global Times article similarly referred to the arbitration as the “so called South China Sea arbitration,” and that it is “illegal and invalid.”

China continues to bully its neighbors in the South China Sea. At the same time, it wages a sophisticated propaganda effort aimed at obscuring this fact to further its hegemony in the region. The United States needs a clear policy to lead its allies in the region against China’s growing threat.

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China

Number of illegal migrants from China, mostly single males, surpassing those from Mexico in some areas

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that the total number of apprehensions from China at the conclusion of the 2023 fiscal year, was 24,048 persons, more than 10 times the 1,970 arrests recorded in 2022. Of the more than 140,000 Chinese nationals, mostly single males, who have illegally entered the United States since President Joe Biden took office, does not include persons who have evaded capture.

In one California border sector, where the majority are apprehended, CBP announced that between October and February, the 21,000 encounters with Chinese citizens surpassed the 18,700 Mexicans taken into custody.

Foreign Desk News explains that the migrants will typically fly to Ecuador, as there is no visa requirement, then pay guides to transport them to the U.S. border. Many of the transients will claim asylum on the basis that they are victims of the oppressive regime in Beijing.

The influx has caused concern in Washington over the possible national security implications, such as how on March 27, an unnamed Chinese individual was arrested for attempting to enter the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California, without identification.

The Wall St. Journal reported that unauthorized Chinese citizens, often posing as tourists, attempted to access or surveil sensitive U.S. military instillations more than 100 times in recent years.

Last summer, House Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green (R-TN), announced that his committee had obtained evidence from the U.S. Border Patrol confirming that many of the detained, and later released per Biden administration policy, have ties to China’s People’s Liberation Army.

 

 

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