Human rights activist blames Sinophobia and racism for false reports on Chinese students in Cagayan province

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Academician, writer, human rights and anti-crime activist Teresita Ang See described as “dangerous and unfortunate” the “baseless media reports” that speculated on “Chinese students as spies” in northern Philippines.

During a recent “Pandesal Forum” held at Kamuning Bakery Cafe in Quezon City, Ang See reacted to earlier media reports that alleged that some 4,600 Chinese students had enrolled in St. Paul University in Tuguegarao, Cagayan.

She further said that the resulting perception stemmed from the “deliberate fanning of Sinophobia and racism by politicians and media spreading baseless whodunits of students as spies.”

NO FACT CHECKING

“Politicians, opinion makers, our military, and police scramble to ride on the issue without checking the facts,” Ang See stressed, adding that “the number of foreign students (of all nationalities) in St. Paul University is 486, far from the 4,600 reported.”

She also said that even the Commission on Higher Education said that there was a “significant number” of students at St. Paul, “without qualifying what is significant relative to the total student population or giving context that it is the only university given authority by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Bureau of Immigration to accept foreign students.”

According to Ang See, “the baseless and deliberate fanning of negative news on influx of Chinese students serves only to exacerbate the ongoing geopolitical tensions arising from our maritime conflict with China.”

NO COINCIDENCE

“It is not a coincidence that it came on the heels of the tripartite summit among the United States, Japan and the Philippines and the Balikatan exercises being undertaken supposedly to make our military better equipped and combat ready. It is not a coincidence either that the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites are in Cagayan and our military has been agitating for greater logistical support from the U.S. and a bigger budget from our government for these sites. It is also not a coincidence that the protagonists in the Cagayan students story are political rivals,” Ang See said.

The founding Chair of the Movement for the Restoration of Peace and Order further said that tensions have been deliberately escalated and magnified by the delivery and installation of mid-range capability missiles in the Philippines by the United States.  Negative news like the exaggerated influx of Chinese students are further churning the waters into a potentially dangerous tsunami.

“We are allowing ourselves to be drawn into a proxy war between China and the United States. We do not see the Americans giving diplomacy a chance to calm turbulent waters and give room for dialogue and peaceful engagement,” Ang See stated.

She concluded: “Neighboring countries take measures to entice Chinese tourists and Chinese students who wish to improve their English to better qualify for higher studies outside China. We, on the other hand, discourage them from coming by exhibiting blatant racism and racial profiling.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wilson Lee Flores
Wilson Lee Flores
Wilson Lee Flores is a moderator of Pandesal Forum. He is a college teacher, a writer who has won three Palanca literary awards and a record 15 Catholic Mass Media Awards or CMMA. Flores is the President of Red Apple Properties & Management, Inc., owner of the 85-year-old Kamuning Bakery Cafe, and Chairman of Anvil Business Club

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