Filipinos slam China for ‘Fault in Your Maps’

Paterno Esmaquel II
On Philippine Independence Day, Filipino protesters denounce China as a threat to Philippine sovereignty

EXPANSIVE CLAIMS. Filipino protesters criticize China's 9-dash line, a demarcation mark that the Asian giant uses to claim virtually the entire South China Sea. Photo by Paterno Esmaquel II/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Inspired by the blockbuster movie “The Fault in Our Stars,” Filipinos protested outside the Chinese consulate on Philippine Independence Day to slam China for “The Fault in Your Maps” on the South China Sea.

It was raining, but still up to 140 protesters gathered in front of China’s consulate in Makati City on Thursday, June 12, to protest China’s aggression in the disputed waters.

The Philippines claims parts of these waters as the West Philippine Sea, and is pursuing a historic case against China to assert its ownership.

Rafaela David, chairperson of the group Akbayan Youth, told Rappler that her group thought of the poster “The Fault in Your Maps” to denounce “the faulty map of China” that covers the West Philippine Sea.

China’s modern maps include the much-criticized 9-dash line, a demarcation mark that China uses to claim virtually the entire South China Sea.

Ironically, in a recent lecture, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio of the Philippine Supreme Court used ancient Chinese maps – China’s favorite pieces of evidence – to debunk these territorial claims. In fact these ancient maps showed a much smaller Chinese territory that spares the West Philippine Sea, Carpio said.

‘Is Philippines truly free?’

For David, China’s maps blatantly insult the Philippines. (Watch scenes from the rally in the Instagram video below) 

Ngayong Araw ng Kalayaan, magandang itanong natin sa sarili natin, tayo ba ay malayang buo? Malayang buo ba tayo lalo na kung may mga ilang parte ng ating teritoryo na wala tayong sovereign control? Isa na nga doon ‘yung West Philippine Sea,” she said in an interview with Rappler.

(Today, Independence Day, it will be good to ask ourselves, are we truly free? Are we truly free given that we don’t have sovereign control over some parts of our territory? One of those is the West Philippine Sea.)

Marimi de la Fuente, who wasn’t among the organizers, also joined Thursday’s anti-China rally as she did in July 2013.

Back then, she held up a homemade poster that said, “Bad feng shui to take what isn’t yours.” 

This time, her poster said in big, bold, and pink letters, “The world hates you, China” – even as the Asian giant, now growing “uneasy,” seeks the world’s sympathy.

“The 9-dash line is something they made up,” De La Fuente told Rappler.

Philippines ‘being invaded’

DESPITE RAIN. Bad weather failed to stop up to 140 Filipino protesters from trooping to the Chinese consulate in Makati City on June 12, 2014. Photo by Jay Ganzon/Rappler

She explained: “There’s no historical backing to their 9-dash line. Ancient maps, world maps, present maps, maps from the 1800s – nothing! There’s nothing about the 9-dash line. It’s something that the communist government of China made up, from out of the blue. They all of a sudden said, we want the South China Sea because it’s full of marine resources that they want.”

De la Fuente said the timing of the rally, on Philippine Independence Day, is important “because it has to do with the freedom and the sovereignty of our country.”

“Our country is being invaded by a force bigger than us, and we have to tell the world that China is here, intruding on our sovereignty,” she said.

Former national security adviser Roilo Golez, one of the organizers as part of the ‘Di Ka Pasisiil Movement, stressed the need to strengthen the country’s security as China bolsters its territorial claim – the same thing that Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario denounced as an “expansion agenda.”

Siyempre ang security, importante sa independence,” Golez said, as the Philippines is warned about a possible backlash from China. (Of course security is important to independence.)

He added: “Hindi maganda ang ginagawa ng China. Mukhang palapit sila nang palapit. Mukhang lalong lumalala. Bago bumuti ‘to lalong lalalala.” (What China is doing isn’t good. It looks like they’re getting closer and closer. It looks like it’s getting worse. It will get worse before it gets better.) – Rappler.com

Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.