China TV‘claims’ Philippines as Chinese territory;China Claimed Chinese Made Banaue Rice Terraces

Chinese journalist He Jia of mainstream CCTV declared during a news broadcast that “We all know that the Philippines is China’s inherent territory and the Philippines belongs to Chinese sovereignty; this is an indisputable fact.”- THE DIPLOMAT-

China TV ‘claims’ Philippines as Chinese territory

BEIJING, China – An anchor on China’s state-run television network has accidentally declared the Philippines a part of China, in an embarrassing gaffe as tensions between the two nations run high.

He Jia, anchor for China Central Television’s (CCTV) nationally televised news broadcast, made the claim during a late Monday broadcast that has been repeatedly replayed on the Internet.

The presenter apparently meant to say that the Huangyan islands — known in the Philippines as the Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal), and claimed by both nations — is China’s territory.

“We all know that the Philippines is China’s inherent territory and the Philippines belongs to Chinese sovereignty, this is an indisputable fact,” He said in the broadcast, which has since disappeared from the CCTV website but is available elsewhere on the web.

Viewers joked in online postings that the presenter’s nationalistic fervour led to her mistake.

“This anchor woman is great, a good patriot, she has announced to the world the Philippines belongs to China,” said a microblogger named helenjhuang.

“We should attack directly, send (Philippine President Benigno) Aquino packing and take back our inherent territory.”

Another microblogger named kongdehua said, “the Philippines have basically been making irrational trouble, if they want to start a war then we will strike, no one fears them.

“If every Chinese spat once, we could drown (the Philippines).”

CCTV officials refused comment on He’s gaff when contacted by AFP and would not say whether the station had apologised.

When commenting on territorial disputes and separatist movements in Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang and neighbouring sea areas, Chinese diplomats and media routinely claim all such areas as an “indisputable part of China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying said late Monday Beijing was ready for “any escalation” of the maritime standoff with the Philippines that has become one of the most high-profile flare ups over the West Philippine Sea (South China Seas) and its vast oil and gas deposits in years.

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Beware of Chinese Jingoism

Keen to shift attention from home, China’s leaders may be tempted to stoke nationalism in the media. It’s risky.

Over the last several weeks, as Western media has followed the unfolding of events of Chen Guangcheng’s dash  to the U.S. embassy in Beijing, which came on the heels of the Bo Xilai scandal, Chinese media has shifted its gaze elsewhere. In the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea, depending on which party you ask, tensions are being stoked in the form of provocative editorials, reporting, and the actions of Chinese journalists. Such reporting – nothing more than old fashioned jingoism – sets a dangerous precedent in an area of the world that is already rife with tensions. And, while such coverage is useful for turning the page on China’s internal political soap operas, fueling the fires of Chinese nationalism can only inject a dangerous element that, if left unchecked, could make it harder for either side to compromise.

To be fair, sensationalist Chinese reporting is nothing new, nor exclusively Chinese. Yet, as events in the recent spat between China and the Philippines have unfolded, Chinese reporting has becoming increasingly aggressive.

Nothing demonstrates the recent tilt towards jingoism more than the example of a journalist from Dragon TV who decided to plant his nation’s flag on the Scarborough Shoal/Huangyan Island/Panatag Shoal. Such symbolism couldn’t be any stronger, short of taking up defiant residence.  There was, however, a strange oddity to the footage, namely that the rock both sides are squabbling over was barely large enough for the journalist to stand on. In fact, part of the shoal submerges during high tide.  Yet with large deposits of natural resources, fisheries, and important trade routes close by, it’s no wonder both parties are so interested. The issue is complicated by the fact that the South China Sea is claimed in some part by not just China and the Philippines, but Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and others as well.

To make matters worse is what can be described as one of the worst timed slips of the tongue in modern journalism. 

Chinese journalist He Jia of mainstream CCTV declared during a news broadcast that “We all know that the Philippines is China’s inherent territory and the Philippines belongs to Chinese sovereignty; this is an indisputable fact.”

While the broadcast has disappeared from the CCTV website, to make the gaff not once but twice in the same sentence seems odd to say the least. While He did apologize on Weibo for the slip, the comments below her apology speak volumes to the nationalistic sentiment that has built up around the issue.

Social media is also ablaze with nationalistic and fire-spitting commentary. While Chinese censors are quick to repress any of the latest news or rumors concerning Bo or Chen, matters in the South China Sea seem like fair game. One microblogger named kongdehua declared, “the Philippines have basically been making irrational trouble, if they want to start a war then we will strike, no one fears them.” He went on to say in a widely quoted remark that, “If every Chinese spat once, we could drown (the Philippines).”

To be fair, Chinese media is also capable of creating discourse that prefers compromise and diplomacy when conflict between nations is possible. The Global Times, for example, has published content with a less harsh tone. Jeffrey Bader, U.S. President Barack Obama’s senior advisor on China and Asia at the National Security Council from 2009 to 2011, described in an article the U.S.-China relationship  as being “in reasonably good shape. The Chinese are working well with us on North Korea and Iran. Taiwan has not been a source of tension, and does not promise to be for years. Since that is the one issue on which we theoretically could have a conflict, the positive state and trend of cross-Straits relations is very important, and gets undeservedly little attention.”

The Chinese Communist Party has a great deal of influence over what is said in its mainstream media in print, over the radio, on TV and in social media. If Chinese authorities were so inclined, they could rein in jingoism. Yet there seems little inclination so far to do so. Chinese editors and leaders should be wary.

Harry Kazianis is assistant editor of The Diplomat.


Lonely Planet wrongly claimed the Chinese made the Banaue Rice Terraces

Lonely Planet, an online travel publisher, apologized for its video claiming that it was the Chinese who built the picturesque Banaue Rice Terraces in the province of Ifugao.

However, it was only expressed as a response to a tweet of a concerned user.

Twitter user @AltPCOOSec brought up the concern on March 31 with screenshots of the part of the video stating the claim. The video, itself, had since been deleted on Facebook.

Click here to see the post:

“Thank you for flagging this, we’ll share this with our editors who’ll take a further look into it. We’ll share updates/action points on this thread,” Lonely Planet said.

The Banaue Rice Terraces are rice fields carved into the mountains about 2,000 years ago by early Ifugao settlers. Enduring some ruin over the years, they still mostly survive in form today.

It is one of the world’s heritage sites declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO.

Lonely Planet has yet to issue a formal apology for the mistake or post an updated version of the video.

It also similarly claimed on its website that the rice terraces were introduced by the Chinese. “World Heritage listed, they’re impressive not only for their chiselled beauty but because they were introduced around 2000 years ago by the Chinese,” read the description of the tourist spot on Lonely Planet’s website.

No known historical records state the country’s Chinese ancestors have something to do with the Banaue Rice Terraces’ construction.

The international travel publisher also did not cite sources where it based such details.

A rice terrace is formed through terracing, or an old farming method wherein crops are cultivated on the slopes of mountains and hills to reduce soil erosion and water loss.

UNESCO described the one in the municipality of Banaue  in Ifugao as “an outstanding example of an evolved, living cultural landscape” in the north of the Philippines.

“The Ifugao Rice Terraces epitomize the absolute blending of the physical, socio-cultural, economic, religious, and political environment.  Indeed, it is a living cultural landscape of unparalleled beauty,” UNESCO said.

Other popular rice terraces in the world are the Honghe Hani Rice Terraces in China, the Douro Valley in Portugal, both of which are UNESCO’s world heritage sites, the Chiang Mai fields in Thailand and the Hamanoura Coast in Japan.


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