Greed and Shamelessness in the South China Sea Issue
I am writing this blog not as a Filipino but as a Christian and as a member of the world community of people. I believe that the Chinese people I know will agree with me when I say that the Chinese government is wrong in their boastful assertion that they are ready for trouble if the decision reached at The Hague will be implemented!
I am addressing the Chinese Christians – those who are not communist like those who are in government of the People's Republic of China.
Three years ago, the Philippines filed for compulsory arbitration, under Article 287, Annex VII of the United Nations on the Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), against China. The Philippines just scored a historic legal victory against China in the South China Sea. Meanwhile, China that boycotted the whole proceedings has refused to acknowledge its jurisdiction. China, which ratified UNCLOS in 1996, has said it will neither accept nor honor the upcoming ruling by the tribunal. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-javad-heydarian/philippines-landmark-vict_b_11005170.html)
Why is China wrong? It is wrong in principle, in moral, and in every aspect of justice! In principle, because it is signatory to the UNCLOS.
China technically consented to undergo arbitration by signing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), said Lawrence Martin, one of the Philippines's legal counsels. Martin noted that China signed the UNCLOS in 1982 and ratified it in 1996. (http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/15/1603138/phl-legal-counsel-china-consented-arbitration-signing-unclos)
"When it ratified the Law of the Sea Convention, it agreed to all of the provisions of the convention and among the articles of the provision is Article 287 which says that one state may initiate an arbitration against another state unilaterally," Martin said in a public forum held at the University of the Philippines, Diliman.
Once a person or a group has agreed on a covenant and the covenant was ratified nobody may add or subtract to the conditions set forth.
Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
It is utter shamelessness to disregard something you have agreed upon with others!
THE ROMANS 14:22 (RSV)
The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God; happy is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves.
Under the principle of Estoppel, you must not disagree later with things you have previously agreed and signed!
Therefore, biblically and morally, China is wrong!
I have known Chinese people since my childhood. I remember my grandmother calling them "intsik." Most of them, with very little in their pockets, came to the Philippines, which was then considered as the richest country in Asia.
I remember when they humbly knocked on doors to buy empty bottles, cans, and stuffs that for ordinary Filipinos were meant to be thrown into the waste basket. These Chinese are humble. They are friendly. They are industrious and they do not waste money. Maybe this is the reason why they became successful as business entrepreneurs in the Philippines.
I am not, as I said, speaking as a Filipino, but as a Christian. My grandmother is of Chinese descent - a very industrious woman from Shanghai. Hard-working and diligent, she has passed on her virtues to us in the family.
I remember the now considered richest Filipino, the owner of the largest chain of malls and supermarkets in the Philippines, as a resourceful and frugal person! My father being a construction superintendent knew him personally. When his first store was being built in Escolta, Manila, this Chinese picked up every piece of nail lying idle within the construction site. He did not want a single centavo wasted. Now, after almost five decades, he is the richest Filipino and one of the richest men in the world. Mind you, he is Chinese by blood! These are the kind of Chinese people I know.
A considerable part of the Philippine population is Chinese by blood. They have learned to be religious also like Filipinos. Some, if not majority of them, have become Christians.
If the Chinese government did not consider the Philippines as home to most of its people seeking for greener pastures, which then are not available in China, how can the government of China be as inconsiderate to Filipinos now to the extent of harassing our fishermen in the South China Sea? This sea is by international law and agreement, part of our heritage! We have laws for that.
The Law of the Sea Treaty, formally known as the Third United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, or UNCLOS III, was adopted in 1982. Its purpose is to establish a comprehensive set of rules governing the oceans and to replace previous U.N. Conventions on the Law of the Sea, one in 1958 (UNCLOS I) and another in 1960 (UNCLOS II) that were believed to be inadequate.
..In additional to the economic provisions, the treaty also establishes specific jurisdictional limits on the ocean area that countries may claim, including a 12-mile territorial sea limit and a 200-mile exclusive economic zone limit. (http://www.unlawoftheseatreaty.org/)
I would say that the Chinese occupation and construction activities in some of the islands, which by law belongs lawfully to the Philippines, is a premeditated act of greed, which is immoral by any standards!
Reports said that despite China’s complaints, the Arbitral Tribunal at The Hague stood its ground.
In its final verdict, it ruled China’s doctrine of ‘historic rights’, a foundation of its nine-dashed-line claims, as ‘incompatible’ with prevailing international law, arguing that ‘there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or their resources.’
The verdict also makes it clear that China ‘violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights’ by preventing the Southeast Asian country from exercising its sovereign rights particularly its ability to exploit natural resources such as fisheries stock and hydrocarbon deposits within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as provided by the UNCLOS. It also rejected China’s longstanding claim that the contested land features in the Spratly chain of islands — particular Mischief, Gaven, McKennan, Hughues, Johnson, Cuarteron and Fiery Cross reefs — as well as the Scarborough Shoal constitute naturally-formed islands. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-javad-heydarian/philippines-landmark-vict_b_11005170.html)
I am not against the Chinese people but I am against the rudeness of their leaders. It could be because they are not Christians!
Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.
Let us not remove the landmarks set at the sea because they are set by international laws!