Certainly, the massive loans given to the “Build! Build! Build” are starting to cost. As the big infrastructure projects and other loans are taking their toll on the economy. Therefore, the Philippines and President Rodrigo Duterte are trying to collect something. It seems like the Chinese counterparts are getting lots of collateral and salvage the spent funds in Philippines. Because, as the weeks goes by and the ASEAN friends, the one with the upper-hand is China.
This is surely not how Duterte want it too look, as they are having a bargain. There has already been putting into question the control of Benham Rise and the hard-won control of the island there. Still, the Republic haven’t fought with tooth and nail to get it back. This week, it seems like there are more installations on it. The sovereign Philippines are being toyed with by China. They are being fooled and has to accept deals, because of the loans to Beijing. Manila is indebted and has to give concessions. Why else, would this week be filled with new Chinese interference and getting licenses in the Philippines?
Weather Station Controversy:
““It is currently coordinating with concerned government agencies, as well as with the Philippine Embassy in Beijing to verify the existence or non-existence of these alleged facilities,” he said. Panelo earlier addressed this concern on Monday saying Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin jr. will “do his job” once the reports have been verified. China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang announced on November 1 that Beijing has already begun operating weather stations on the artificial islands in South China Sea. “These projects are designed to observe the maritime, hydrological, meteorological conditions and air qualities, and provide such services as maritime warning and forecast, tsunami alert, weather forecast, air quality forecast, and disaster prevention and relief,” Lu Kang said in a press conference” (Janine Peralta – ‘Philippines to take action if Chinese weather stations in South China Sea are verified — Palace’ 06.11.2018 link: http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2018/11/06/ph-china-south-china-sea-panelo.html).
“One of the projects included an exploration between state-owned Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) and Chinese state-owned CNOOC Ltd., located off Calamian in southwestern Palawan province, Cusi told Manila Bulletin in a news briefing. Cusi was referring to Service Contract 57 which covers an oil and gas project awarded to PNOC’s exploration unit, and picked CNOOC as a partner. Cusi did not share details for Service Contract 72, an exploration permit held by the Philippines’ PXP Energy Corp. for Reed Bank, but clarified that the Reed Bank, another disputed South China Sea area, is not of the two” (Meanne Rosales – ‘ PH to seal 2 exploration deals with China’ 09.11.2018, link: https://powerphilippines.com/2018/11/09/ph-seal-2-exploration-deals-china/)
Chinese Telecommunication as the Third Telco:
“Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lauded the entry of China Telecommunications Corp., or China Telecom, in his country’s telecommunication industry, saying the Philippines stands to benefit from the “good competition” that a Chinese company will bring to the industry” (…) “Duterte said that China “has proved to be of very incredibly high quality of electronics.” “(Xinhuanet – ‘Duterte welcomes China Telecom’s operating in Philippines’ 08.11.2018).
As we see, the sudden Benham Rise in the South China Sea and the will of China to takeover the place, while the Malacañang are preoccupied with sneering at priests, Rappler and who else who hurt their pride. They are not seeing or looking away from the sovereign implications on Benham Rise. As there are talks already of military installations, but now also monitoring equipment and a weather station. Clearly, the Chinese sees it as their land, while the PH are busy trying to find out what is happening there.
Than, you have the oil-fields in the same region, where the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) have gotten licenses to drill oil there. Clearly, this is all intentional, as well as they are the lucky third Telecommunication Company and getting into the Cellphone business too. This is just fitting as a glove. They are both getting territory in the South China Sea, they are getting exploitation opportunities and steady profits through a cell-phone carrier. All this they have gotten for dropping some loans, that is hard for the Philippines to repay in cash.
That is why they are allowed to get these things, as collateral for the debt. This is a game the Chinese plays well. That is why this is all happening. We have seen similar efforts done in Sri Lanka. That will surely happen in the Philippines too. As the Chinese is not forgiving with their loans. They want points on the dollar. Not loose money and certainly not lose face on the investments made. Peace.
“If you owe your bank a hundred pounds, you have a problem. But if you owe a million, it has.” – John Maynard Keynes
There are worries about the rising levels of debt the Philippines has to China. That should worry all Filipino. Since, this will be repaid, even as the infrastructure projects under the President is served now. The time for repaying these debts will come. This might be the next one after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte might have to answer for that. But he should be worry himself of the levels he is putting the Republic in, unless he wants important parts of the infrastructure be “given” to the Chinese as a way of repaying the debt like Sri Lanka did.
“The conclusion of an agreement with China to manage the Hambantota port was seen as inevitable after the government buckled under Chinese pressure when the China Communication and Construction Co Ltd, which was building the port city, demanded USD 143 million as compensation for the stalling of the work. The Sri Lankan government was also compelled to renegotiate the Colombo Port city project last year, which had been suspended due to criticism about the Chinese ownership of 20 hectares of freehold land as well as controversy over the project’s possible negative environmental impact” (Smruti S. Pattanaik – ‘New Hambantota Port Deal: China Consolidates its Stakes in Sri Lanka’ 17.08.2017).
This story should be worrying for the Philippines as the rising debt to China will come to roost one day. Duterte has accepted and taken it for his projects, but will it be sustainable. That is something he himself should ask himself and also if they can repay this debt without paying a high price.
Jovito Jose P. Katigbak reported in June 2018 this: “Another issue worth noting is debt sustainability. There are concerns that borrowing heavily from China will lead the country into a debt trap. A 2017 Forbes article contends that the Philippine government debt could swell up to USD 452 billion by 2027, which translates to a debt-to-GDP ratio of 197 percent. The estimated figure is based on an annual 10 percent interest rate on loans levied by the Chinese government, hence tying the Philippines into a “virtual debt bondage”” (CIRSS Commentaries – ‘BRIDGING THE INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT GAP THROUGH FOREIGN AID: A BRIEFER ON CHINESE ODA’ June 2018).
If the Filipino doesn’t get to worried about the amount they are borrowing from China. It isn’t only Sri Lanka who has eaten over more debt than they can swallow and has to repay with other means. There are worry in the Pacific island of Tonga.
As reported from Tonga: “Chinese aid in the Pacific region has increased dramatically in recent years and the country has become the region’s second-largest donor. Tonga’s debt to China has been estimated to be more than $100m by Australia’s Lowy Institute think-tank. The prime minister told local media last week that countries would get together to ask the Chinese government to “forgive their debts”. “To me, that is the only way we can all move forward, if we just can’t pay off our debts,” he added. Beijing has refused to write off loans in the past but has given Tonga an amnesty on repayments” (Simone Rench – ‘Tonga premier to ask China to ‘forgive’ Pacific debts’ 21.08.2018 link: https://www.publicfinanceinternational.org/news/2018/08/tonga-premier-ask-china-forgive-pacific-debts).
We have seen what the Chinese done to the Sri Lankan and Tongan counterparts. Both of instances could be happening to the Philippines. Not that you wish that, but the repayments of the growing debt will happen at one point. Even if there is long grace-period of lower rates on the interests as promised to Manila. You can wonder when the Beijing want to recoup the funds and the debt.
Right now, Duterte has a good relationship with Beijing, but when do they feel they have invested enough in the Build! Build! Build! (BBB) projects and wants profits and returns on the investments?
Because the Chinese will not do this forever. They might act nice at first and investing in infrastructure projects as a part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), but when time goes by and lack of repayment hits the fan. The familiar faces of Beijing will get their value for the money and the sovereignty will be taken away. As a port, a piece of mines or exploration of some sort of industrial output will go directly to Beijing and a state owned company. Since they will get their repayment for all the offered debt to the nation.
That is what Duterte is risking, if it is oil exploration and extraction, mineral resources or even ports that is vital to the business done in the Philippines. Does he wants to risk that for the signature building of the BBB?
The Chinese authorities are cracking down on more cartoons, because of their messaging. The regime is afraid of their messages. Just like in 2017, when on Chinese Social Media the public was mocking the President with the nickname and pictures of Winnie the Pooh. Xi Jinping doesn’t like jokes and not on his expense. Therefore, during July 2017, Winnie the Pooh was a no-go.
Now the second coming here and this time its the Peppa Pig. But for other reasons. It is not because someone said the pig looks like the wife of the President or anyone in the cabinet. However, the authorities, doesn’t enjoy the message. So we can expect a lot of censorship, to extent we haven’t seen before. Because of Peppa Pig has a wrong message. Most of Disney Channel, Cartoon Network or Looney Tunes can be forgotten in the magic kingdom of China.
Manya Koetse reports: “According to a list of Douyin’s guidelines that have been surfacing online, Peppa is just one amongst various topics and themes banned from the platform. Other types of banned content include those relating to smoking, drinking, cross-dressing, cults or religion, and anything insulting the Chinese government. Over the past few months, Peppa Pig has become a subversive symbol to a Chinese online youth subculture dubbed ‘shehuiren‘ (社会人), literally ‘society people’, which is a group of young adults that is anti-establishment and somewhat ‘punk’ in their own way; going against mainstream values and, as state media outlet Global Times puts it, are “the antithesis of the young generation the Party tries to cultivate.” (Manya Koetse – ‘The Power of Peppa Pig: The Cultural Icon of China’s ‘Shehuiren’ Punks’ 02.05.2018, link: https://www.whatsonweibo.com/the-power-of-peppa-pig-the-cultural-icon-of-chinas-shehuiren-punks/)
So clearly, the message of Peppa Pig is insulting Chinese Government, just like nicknaming Xi Jinping as Winnie the Pooh. Because both of these characters are such firebrand of revolutionary voices. Their striking artifacts of Western-Civilization, that can inspire cults and make dissidents go off the rails. This just show how far the censorship is in China at this point. They are already blocking dozens of pages, news-outlets and social-media pages. Therefore, there are other pages that the Chinese uses, as they are trying to connect as well. However, these are also strictly monitored. If it wasn’t so, than these cartoons wouldn’t be subject of scrutiny.
The Communist party is really afraid of the free voices. Since they cannot manage these cartoons, because of how people are using them. But they are not thinking. That the same people will find other ways and other types of communications. Will find new symbols and the rally for censoring more will go into the ridiculous.
What is next Jessica Rabbit? Donald Duck? Mickey Mouse? Whose up?
Who knows right? But this is just a sign, just another proof of how controlling the media, the social media and the powers of censorship is in the Republic of China. They are not stopping and has no planning to do so. Because they have all the powers of doing so. Peace.
This is released two weeks later, as WordPress themselves blocked my account and forced me to change my password. As I was crossing Asia to the Philippines. Clearly, I had a bad two days technologically speaking on the 22nd and 23rd December. This is now released on the 5th January 2018. As I am sitting in Manila, awaiting getting tickets. Underneath is what I wrote while waiting for my plane in Beijing!
Today, I was for the first time at the International Airport of Beijing. The 22nd December 2017. I am addicted to certain social media pages and services. I need them also to updated and be able interact with family and friends. Especially traveling alone across the continents and for over 48 hours. There is a need to update.
As I am traveling. I am struggling to push my words. To express my fond of the airport. Even just say to the world on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress or whatever really. Look into a dozens of Apps. Also, I don’t know how many news-sites that is blocked. However, that is a dozens. I am just in passing by the airport and feeling troubled by it. It must be harder for the people living in the mainland China to use it or they have to VPN to get hooked up on the Social Media sites. There are similar ones in Chinese Fashion. That I am sure is censored and controlled by the Chinese government.
I felt today, the censorship, the blockade and it hurt. The distrust that I couldn’t understand or get the information through these channels. That I couldn’t add or do anything on these pages. Even if it was just saying “I am safe, soon awaiting next flight”. That is to revolutionary for the Reds in Beijing.
I don’t know, but this sort of thing is still to control the media and the message. Not let dissidents or people get information that is unsound and not sanctioned by the Central Government. That is what this is, therefore, the citizens of China are not free in the sense of media or online. They might accept it, but they should know that hurts even the ones that is passing by.
I have stressed for a few hours, I should have considered it earlier. However, I didn’t. I know I will come with this message of censorship from another Asian Country. Since the Chinese won’t let me share or consider my free opinion on my blog. They have banned from entering. That would be illegal activity. Which in itself is a weird thing. To write and speak out is banned in that fashion. Xi Ping and Communist Party wants to still have the last word. They still wants the minds of the people under their control. If someone questions them. It is wrong. Clearly it is. They shouldn’t be afraid.
They shouldn’t be afraid. Instead of having a bunch of YES MEN. They would have people thinking and making new enterprises, not just copying and licensing. Which they are famous for doing. China deserves that with their great minds and intellect. With their progress and their industrial work. They deserve that, not just imported luxurious goods, but also free minds and free spirits. That can all together create an even better China.
It isn’t dangerous, you can accept to disagree. You can agree. It is up to you. I will not blame you. But I have today tasted the Internet Blockade, the censorship under the Chinese Regime. It is something else.
All I wanted to say to family and friends on Facebook was: “I am safe in Beijing. Awaiting next flight soon”. Something in that fashion. If that is a illegal attempt of inciting violence or causing a stir. Then I don’t know. I just wanted my wife and everyone else to know. That I am cool and collected. Waiting to go to next destination. Peace.
“Taipei is accusing Beijing of abducting 45 Taiwanese nationals from Kenya, a move analysts say may be aimed at making the soon-to-be ruling party in Taiwan start a friendly dialogue with mainland China rather than veering toward stronger self-rule, which goes against Beijing’s wishes. The deportations that Taiwan’s government describes as an abduction of its citizens that was coordinated by China and Kenya follows other moves that analysts call pressure tactics against Taiwan since the island’s January 16 presidential election.Vincent Makori speaks with Mwenda Njoka, Spokesman, Kenya’s Ministry of Interior” (TV2 Africa, 2016).