Typhoon Haiyan

Chinese daily accuses Manila of ingratitude over US$100,000 typhoon donation

Global Times says Beijing might be the loser if it didn't offer help for storm victims, while Guangdong daily recalls Manila's 'provocations'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 November, 2013, 11:37pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 November, 2013, 4:21pm

China should help victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan in spite of tensions between the two countries, according to a state-run newspaper. But another accused the Philippines of being ungrateful, a day after the Chinese government announced it would give US$100,000 in emergency aid and the Red Cross Society of China pledged to donate the same amount in emergency humanitarian aid.

"If China gives meagre aid to the Philippines this time, our own losses may well outweigh the losses inflicted upon them by insufficient aid," the Beijing-based Global Times said in an editorial yesterday.

The newspaper added that it was in China's interest to show generosity to a neighbour in need and that providing humanitarian aid to the victims was not in conflict with defending China's territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Video: Grim search for bodies goes on in Philippines

Haiyan is feared to have killed more than 10,000 in the Philippines. It also struck southern China and Vietnam, with seven deaths recorded in Hainan and Guangxi and 14 in Vietnam.

It is no surprise nowadays for Chinese official media to diverge from each other

In contrast to the Global Times, Southern Daily, the official newspaper of Guangdong province and one that tends to be more open-minded, published an editorial on the same day entitled "China never short of 'love' for the Philippines".

The article said territorial disputes and unresolved grievances arising from the 2010 hostage crisis involving a Hong Kong tour bus in Manila did not affect China's love for the Philippines. As evidence, it pointed to the immediate condolences extended by Hong Kong's chief executive Leung Chun-ying, as well as the city's participation in disaster relief efforts.

"The Chinese government and people have never begrudged 'love' for the Philippines, but the Philippines is obviously not content or even appreciating China's 'love', only expecting 'more love' from China," the article said. It went on to cite a series of "provocations harming the Chinese people's feelings", such as refusal to apologise over the hostage crisis.

Guo Zhongshi, head of the department of journalism at Hong Kong Baptist University, said: "It is no surprise nowadays for Chinese official media to diverge from or openly contradict each other." Guo said it would be hard to tell whether it was coincidence that the two editorials conveying different messages came out on the same day. But "they are not to be taken at face value as evidence of two different camps regarding Chinese foreign policy towards the Philippines".

Du Ping, a commentator for Hong Kong-based private broadcaster Phoenix TV, said on air: "China should show sympathy and support even though Philippine President Aquino considers China an enemy." But he added: "China should not try too hard in making a gesture of generosity, or have any false expectation that hefty aid to the Philippines would repair bilateral ties in any way."

The US$100,000 the Chinese government has offered is not only dwarfed by other countries' pledges but is also modest compared to China's own record of humanitarian aid to the Philippines before relations deteriorated this year. In December 2011, China provided US$1 million after Severe Tropical Storm Washi killed hundreds in the Philippines.