Pinoy protests ready vs superpower ‘wannabe’

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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An expert, however, says calling China names wouldn't help in the ongoing standoff in Scarborough Shoal

GLOBAL PROTESTS. Filipino groups will stage protests outside Chinese embassies worldwide on May 11 in connection to the ongoing Scarborough Shoal dispute.

MANILA, Philippines – China is a “wannabe” making Filipinos angry, a top Filipino philantropist said Wednesday, May 2, amid an ongoing standoff between Philippine and Chinese ships in the disputed Scarborough Shoal.

Loida Nicolas Lewis said this prompted the group she chairs, the US Pinoys for Good Governance, to spearhead global protests against China on May 11 in Chinese embassies worldwide.

“The family of nations should see that this big wannabe world power, China, is not at all following international law. If you want to be a world power, you must be the first one to follow the rule of law of the international bodies,” the US-based Lewis said in an interview on ANC, the ABS-CBN News Channel.

“I want international opinion to look at China and say, ‘Oy, why are you not doing what you’re supposed to do, which is to respect the territorial rights of other nations, especially the Philippines?'” she added.

Through the protests, Lewis said her group wants China to open itself to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (Itlos), which judges maritime claims under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

China has repeatedly said it will not submit to Itlos, in response to the Philippines’ invitation.

“If they don’t change their mind, they stand pat, then they will be known as a bully – a big power over a small power saying, ‘That’s mine,’” Lewis said.

Like PNoy

Like Lewis, President Benigno Aquino III also wants international attention to the ongoing dispute. Aquino said it is the Philippines’ best “weapon” against China, which has a better equipped military force.

“They have relations with other nations around the world which would make other nations think, if we are being treated this way… there might come a time when they would also be treated the same way,” Aquino said late last month

But some are not too sold on heightening the word war between both countries.

“Our pursuit of diplomacy with China can only work if we refrain from using words that hurt feelings such as ‘bully,’ ‘aggressive,’ ‘provocateur,’ and the like. We can stand firm in our claims by using more constructive words because conflicts and cooperation in international politics are also products of social constructions,” said security studies expert Rommel Banlaoi in a Thought Leaders piece for Rappler

Friends and foes in international politics are what states make of it,” he said. “If we call China a bully, then China will be a bully. If we call China a responsible power, China will be pressured to act that way. This is not naiveté. This is handling the situation constructively.” –


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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email