Chinese netizens vow to boycott Philippine imports

A handout photo provided by Taiwan shows an aerial photograph of Taiping Island, also known as Itu Aba Island in the South China Sea, on March 23.
A handout photo provided by Taiwan shows an aerial photograph of Taiping Island, also known as Itu Aba Island in the South China Sea, on March 23.PHOTO: EPA

Chinese netizens have reacted angrily to the tribunal ruling, vowing to boycott Philippine imports such as mangoes and bananas and cancel holiday plans to the Philippines.

Some also urged the government to impose economic sanctions on the Philippines as a form of retaliation, to show the might of China's 1.4 billion population. Many celebrities, including actress Fan Bingbing, also turned to social media to oppose the ruling. They reposted a poster from the People's Daily, with a map of China and the "nine- dash line" that covers most of the South China Sea, proclaiming that "this is China, not one bit less".

Seizing a marketing opportunity, some online vendors on the Taobao e-commerce marketplace said they have pulled Philippine products such as dried mangoes off their shelves, urging customers to buy similar locally produced snacks. They have replaced product images with posters that proclaim their patriotism and slogans declaring "We shall never compromise on the South China Sea issue".

Shanghai resident Sophia Chen, 34, said she has struck the Philippines off her travel destination list. "Those islands and the seas surrounding them definitely belong to China, so I won't consider going (to the Philippines) in the near future," said the senior manager.

But some citizens told The Straits Times that they feel the diplomatic spat has little to do with them. Entrepreneur Tony Lai, 32, said: "I watch the news, but this has nothing to do with my life or my work. I'm not too concerned."

 

Chinese media yesterday continued to attack the ruling while echoing the official stance to urge Manila to resume bilateral talks.

The nationalistic Global Times tabloid called the arbitration award "more shameless than the worst prediction". In a more measured tone, the People's Daily reiterated that the tribunal ruling has "no credibility" and it was but a "political farce right from the start".

In the run-up to Tuesday's ruling, Guancha Syndicate, a news website with nationalistic leanings, published a map showing that 66 countries have voiced their support for China. This was subsequently picked up by many Chinese media outlets and netizens.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2016, with the headline 'Chinese netizens vow to boycott Philippine imports'. Print Edition | Subscribe