Typhoon Haiyan

China to give additional 10 million yuan to Philippine storm victims after criticism

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 November, 2013, 3:43pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 November, 2013, 9:08pm

Beijing said yesterday it would increase its aid to the typhoon-pummelled Philippines after criticism of its initial modest response, but some Chinese web users called for no help at all.

The two countries are embroiled in a row over islands in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims almost in its entirety. Beijing announced a US$100,000 cash donation on Monday, with a matching one from the Chinese Red Cross, far less than other countries and a move that prompted criticism overseas.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the country decided "just days ago" to provide an additional 10 million yuan (HK$12.6 million) for relief efforts in the form of blankets, tents and other materials.

"We hope that these supplies will be delivered to the disaster-stricken areas as soon as possible to show our sympathies with the Philippines," Qin said.

Video: Next Media mocks Chinese government's donation to typhoon-stricken Philippines

However, mainland media and internet users were divided on how the country should respond to the disaster.

One internet user said: "I think what China has done was rational - facts have long showed the wickedness of the Philippine regime. It will not be grateful even if we hand them much money. Instead, it could use the cash to buy weapons from the US to attack us."

However, a commentary in the Global Times took a different line: "A country's status on the world stage does not only rely on its economic and military strength. It is also determined by how much soft power it can master, which includes its approach to humanitarianism."

Survivors in the Philippines are pleading for food, water, clothes and medicine - as well as security from mobs pilfering what little aid is getting through.

Authorities say 2,357 people are confirmed dead, but that figure is expected to rise.

Video: Philippines buries dead as survivors beg for help