MANILA – A song released by the Chinese Embassy in Manila and performed by Filipina "jukebox queen" and Camarines Sur vice-governor Imelda Papin and other singers has earned more than 100,000 dislikes on YouTube for being a piece of propaganda for Beijing, a maritime law expert said Monday.
The song, written by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian, and performed by Papin, Chinese diplomat Xia Wenxin, Filipino-Chinese singer Jhonvid Bangayan, and Chinese actor Yubin, has garnered some 144,000 dislikes since its release on Friday.
Negative reaction to the music video was expected as its release came right after Manila filed diplomatic protests against Beijing over its aggression in the disputed South China Sea, according to Jay Batongbacal, director of the UP Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea.
"It’s seen very clearly by most of our people as propaganda especially since it’s supposedly highlights cooperation over COVID-19 and yet it starts off featuring this so-called 'Iisang Dagat,' which as everyone knows is contested, many parts of which is contested and everybody knows that China in the eyes of the Filipino people is taking away the West Philippine Sea," he told ANC.
"People know it’s propaganda, that it was intended to elicit favorable feelings, shall we say, and they were very much aware that was the intention."
Batongbacal added that China was using other claimant nations' pre-occupation with the pandemic to expand its control in the disputed waters.
"It’s also obvious that the pandemic and the cooperation about the pandemic is not in anyway stopping China from continuing its plans of expanding its control in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea," he said.
"One could argue that it is using this cooperation as a way to leverage against any criticisms of China for its activities in the West Philippine Sea."