China airs caution on citizens amid expected rallies today

Posted on May 11, 2012

THE CHINESE embassy has warned its citizens in the Philippines to take precautionary measures amid anti-China rallies scheduled today.

A FILIPINO fisherman sits on the hull of his boat after arriving from Scarborough Shoal in Masinloc, Zambales. Masinloc is the nearest land, about 128 nautical miles away from the disputed Scarborough Shoal. China warned its citizens in Manila to stay off the streets and take precautions during planned anti-Chinese protests today, a sign of mounting tensions during a standoff in the resource-rich South China Sea. Photo taken on May 10. -- Reuters

In a statement posted online (, the embassy advised its citizens to increase awareness on "personal and property security."

The embassy also discouraged Chinese nationals from going out today (Friday).

"In case of demonstrations, take a detour; do not join the crowd," the advisory said.

It also asked its citizens to maintain a "low profile to avoid a dispute with the locals."

The advisory was released on Monday after tensions in the South China Sea, particularly the ongoing standoff in Scarborough Shoal, intensified following the warning of the Chinese government, based on Chinese state media report, that it is ready to "respond to anything the Philippine side does to escalate the situation."

On Monday, China’s Vice-Foreign Minister Fu Ying summoned Alex Chua, charge d’affaires of the Philippine embassy in China "to make a serious representation" over the tension in Scarborough Shoal.

The Akbayan party-list group, which is leading the mass actions, said it expects tens of thousands in the "global day of action" against China today. Organizers said the rallies will be held simultaneously in the country as well as in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Houston in the United States; as well as in Rome, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Sydney and Singapore. -- Darwin T. Wee