- A Chinese official clarified that there is no official boycott of Philippine products
- China said trade with the Philippines continues to be “smooth and stable”
- State media said calls of boycott that emerge online are from a few who have “irrational patriotism”
A senior Chinese official clarified that there is no official boycott of products from the Philippines, amidst images and calls via social media among Chinese citizens following the ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague over the South China Sea.
Some angry Chinese citizens have called for boycotts of imported products such as bananas and mangoes from the Philippines, as well as brands from the United States such as the iPhone and even fast food chain KFC.
However, Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Gao Yan said that trade relations between the Philippines and China continue to develop smoothly; saying that although such posts online do exist, there is no such official pronouncements of boycott.
“In recent years, the development of China’s trade relations with the Philippines overall has been smooth and stable. China is willing to develop mutually beneficial and diverse trade relations with the Philippines. I should say that though some internet users have called for boycotts on products from the Philippines, in actuality this situation has not occurred,” she told Reuters.
In fact, Chinese state media has discouraged its citizens from practicing “irrational patriotism” over the ruling.
Calls for boycotts among Chinese are not uncommon.
Similar posts online have been made calling for the boycott of Japanese goods and services, as Japan and China are currently embroiled in a similar dispute over islands in the East China Sea.
Many of such posts that get viral attention, however, often come from a rather vocal minority who are swayed by such irrational patriotism.
“Many undereducated and elderly people have gotten involved in online discussions. However, these people are really susceptible to rumors or conspiracy theories, and their love for the country is often manipulated,” He Lingnan from the Sun Yat-sen University in Guangdong explained to Sina.