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Introduction: The socio-economic impact of China on the Philippines

Ralf Rivas
Introduction: The socio-economic impact of China on the Philippines

Artwork by Emil Mercado/Rappler

This paper, published in 2019, delves into China’s moves toward world domination and its inability to crack down on its pet peeves like online gambling. It also looks at why majority of Filipinos are just not a big fan of Beijing.
Research by Janelle Paris

A new friend or a cunning foe? China has been quite a favorite topic in the public sphere or in casual conversations.

Discussions mostly revolve around the influx of Chinese workers, whether or not they take away jobs from Filipinos or whether they allegedly behave badly in communities. Then there’s China’s ambitions of overtaking the United States as the global superpower, as well as its hard-line stance on the West Philippine Sea.

While there may be some truth in the popular narratives out there, images are quite obscured by prejudices. Worse, the attitudes are telltale signs of emerging racism and discount the impact of weak institutions in both Beijing and Manila.

To better understand China’s actions and its impact on the Philippines, this briefer will discuss 5 main points:

  • China is pushing its ambition to be the center of the world by heavily investing in infrastructure.
  • It’s not just the communist party’s money that’s going around. Private Chinese businessmen are also pouring in cash, with some engaging in the luxurious, yet shady world of online gambling.
  • While its ambition is big, inequality in the mainland is widening. Millions of Chinese are flocking to nearby countries like the Philippines to seek for better opportunities and work for online gambling companies.
  • It’s not all fun and games for some online gambling workers. Some are being abused and can’t run to the Chinese embassy for help, as they may face heavier sanctions once caught.
  • China’s aggressive expansion, its hard-line stance on the West Philippine Sea, and President Rodrigo Duterte’s pivot to Beijing are but some of the issues fueling racism. This paper is divided into 2 parts. Part I delves into China’s massive economy, how it seeks to expand even more, as well as its contradictions, including the unequal distribution of wealth. Part II discusses issues surrounding online gambling and the rise of racism toward Chinese in the Philippines.

This paper is divided into 2 parts. Part I delves into China’s massive economy, how it seeks to expand even more, as well as its contradictions, including the unequal distribution of wealth. Part II discusses issues surrounding online gambling and the rise of racism toward Chinese in the Philippines.

(To be continued: Part 1: Beijing’s ambitions get a reality check)

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author

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.