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  • Nov 20, 2014
  • Updated: 9:42am
NewsAsia
PHILIPPINES

Filipinos issue China 'hands off' warning at consulate rally

Hundreds join demonstration in Manila against Beijing's claims on islands in South China Sea amid growing tension over Scarborough Shoal

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 July, 2013, 5:02pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 July, 2013, 7:05pm
 

Hundreds joined a protest outside the Chinese consulate in Manila yesterday against Beijing's moves to stake its claims in the South China Sea.

Among them was Philippine businessman Rafael Alunan, who called out to Chinese diplomats he assumed were listening from inside the visa section, which had shut for the day.

Video: Hundreds in Manila protest China's claims in the South China Sea

"We come in peace," he called out in Putonghua.

He stressed the rally was not against the Chinese people but "directed against your government's policy of home invasion in our exclusive economic zone".

Yesterday's protest came exactly a year after Beijing created the new Sansha prefecture-level city in the Paracels to oversee areas it claims in the South China Sea.

The protest, which ended peacefully two hours later, came amid festering tensions between the two neighbours over Scarborough Shoal - which China calls Huangyan island.

It is a Philippine-claimed outcrop seized by China after a two-month naval stand-off last year.

Alunan warned Beijing: "We have a long history of resistance and you are well advised that Filipinos get angry badly."

Other protesters cheered Alunan, who sits on the board of two big corporations, is a colonel in the army reserve and a former cabinet official of ex-president Fidel Ramos.

Anti-riot police monitored the crowd of about 500 protesters as they sang nationalist songs. They included former congresswoman Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, former congressman Roilo Golez who used to chair the House defence committee; and former Senator Rene Saguisag who once played a key role in removing the US military bases from the Philippines.

We have a long history of resistance and you are well advised that Filipinos get angry badly
Businessman Rafael Anunan

Saguisag warned yesterday that tensions with China could "mean possible supreme sacrifice" on the part of Filipinos.

Other protesters shared his concern. "I fear a Chinese invasion. I want peaceful negotiations," Eddie Salazar, 38, said.

A small group of Vietnamese also joined the protest because they could not easily stage rallies in their country due to of state restrictions on public assemblies.

"We Vietnamese like to stand beside you in this struggle against an aggressive China," said Ngo Van Kha, 24, from Hanoi.

Six governments - China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan - lay claim to disputed territories in the South China Sea, which is home to busy shipping lanes and potentially rich in oil and gas deposits.

One mainland Chinese national who watched yesterday's rally, but declined to be named, said: "Look at that. Is that the kind of people that will go to war against China? No. The real enemy is Japan."

Tokyo has also expressed concerns recently over Beijing's actions in the South China Sea.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits Manila tomorrow. High on the agenda are talks on maritime security co-operation amid tensions with China.

The rally was organised by the US-based Pinoys for Good Governance and the local Akbayan Party, which is a member of President Benigno Aquino's ruling coalition.

The presidential palace distanced itself from the rally and others planned for cities around the world, including New York.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs called it a demonstration of democracy.

Additional reporting by Associated Press, Agence France-Presse

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This article is now closed to comments

KwunTongBypass
So, the South Pole belongs to the Poles??
hard times !
the protest group is called 'West Philippine Sea Alliance ' but where is the West Philippine Sea ? I wonder.There is only the South China Sea according to any maps available ! As all know, the Sea of Japan is not Japan's and the Indian Ocean is not India's yet most of the South China Sea is China's----an undeliable fact ! The ignorant and arrogant Philipinos have to be taught a harsh lesson--------a battle with China will teach her to be humble and reasonable maybe.
OldPeak Toad
The West Philippine Sea is West of the Philippines - you dumbum!
caractacus
It is not just about the Philippines' territorial waters but about those of all nations bordering China.
China is just driving them into the arms of the USA and Western nations who, having at least some decency and respect for civil liberties and the rule of law, will protect them against the new fascist, racist dictatorship.
China never honoured any treaties it made and its hubris is heading it for a big fall.
andreaswagner
So China wants to steal other countries islands. Well instead of bullying small and peaceful neighboring countries, they should pick someone their own size. Try to steal Hawaii and see what happens. I always wanted to dive on an aircraft carrier wreck:)
HK-Lover
I just wonder on what legal and moral grounds a country 2,000 km away can claim the waters a mere 100 km away from another country's shoreline
jayb
NO! south pole belongs to the pole dancer(s).
jayb
crazy. "battle"? you think this is your Play Station?
impala
The only one who doesn't get his facts right, is you. The consular section of the PRC's diplomatic mission to The Philippines is located at a different location than its embassy. This protest was apparently held at the former, and it is entirely accurate to call it a consulate. Read up about the difference please; it has absolutely nothing to do with the location being in a country's capital or not.
carmeledwin
Historically the area is known as the South China Sea. Crazy to change name unilaterally. For people who said that China does not keep treaties, please point out which treaty does not honour. It is easy to make accusations against others without evidence. We all know that this situation is cause by the Americans coming back to Asia, by the Americans stirring up trouble against China, for that is one way for them to sell arms. Without trouble there will be no arm selling. Those countries who are allies to the United States will learn a lesson. You think that the Americans will want to spill American blood over islands? They will not unless they can obtain benefits for the United States.

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