WITH our disputes over the South China Sea territorial and maritime disputes again hogging the front pages, I am again astonished at the massive misinformation on the issue, a testament indeed to the tremendous power of the US and its propaganda apparatus.
What gives these lies so much power is first, deep-seated anti-Chinese racism, which early in our history as a people led to massacres of the Spanish-era Chinese settlements, called the parian. Second, it is another instance of that deeply ingrained mentality that psychologists and anthropologists call the “us vs. them” syndrome: that is, evil is the other tribe, the other clan, the other fraternity, the other basketball team, and the other country with territorial disputes with us.
It is understandable for the man on the street, senators playing the gallery, and Philippine Coast Guard officials like spokesman Jay Tarriela basking in the media limelight and swallowing hook, line and sinker the American deception. Such brainwashing is easier because the SCS dispute involves complex concepts as abstract as, say, physics’ black holes or quantum entanglement: territorial sea, exclusive economic zone, and even the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).
It is disappointing, though that a few columnists, otherwise intelligent and scholarly as well as known for diligent research, have easily fallen for the US propaganda line.
One example is a statement from a veteran columnist in his Philippine Star piece yesterday: “Under the terms of the Unclos, Bajo de Masinloc sits well within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. The arbitral tribunal in 2016 rejected the validity of China’s sovereignty claims over Bajo de Masinloc and the contested reefs further south.”(more…)