China’s strategy vs PH: Trial by publicity

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Even as it strongly criticized the Philippines for “hyping up” the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) issue, China’s recent statements against its challenger show that it has taken the same tack by subjecting the Philippines to trial by publicity.

This legal but out-of-court battle against the Philippines becomes clearer days after the latter submitted a nearly 4,000-page written pleading against Beijing on Sunday, March 30. It sent the pleading, called a memorial, to an arbitral tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which will hear the case filed in January 2013.

China rejects this arbitration process but, as veteran China analyst Chito Sta Romana said, continues “to argue in their media and in their statements.”

“This effort appears to be aimed at influencing the outcome of the tribunal, as well as preparing the Chinese public and the international community for any eventuality,” Sta Romana said in a forum at the Asian Institute of Management on Wednesday, April 2.

A Filipino journalist who worked for more than 3 decades in China, Sta Romana explained: “What they’re trying to do is that on the one hand, they will not participate in the process. On the other hand, from the outside, they present their case, hoping to influence the arbitrators.”

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