Express Week

Global Protest Rallies Against China On July 24

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“Stop China’s invasion of the Philippines!” is both the plea and the demand that Filipinos will be making simultaneously in front of China’s embassies and consulates all over the world from Washington DC to Makati on Wednesday July 24 at 12 noon.

 

The call for the global mass action was initiated by the US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG) in response to last year’s Chinese military occupation of the Philippines’ Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) off Zambales and its imminent threat this year to invade Ayungin Reef, part of the Kalayaan municipality of Palawan, a threat which began on May 8 when three Chinese warships appeared off Ayungin which is defended by a contingent of Philippine marines.

China has denounced the Philippines for its "illegal occupation" of what they call "Rena'i Reef" which is only 105 miles from Palawan and 600 miles from China. Ayungin is considered the "gateway" to the oil-rich Recto Bank which is just 85 miles from Palawan.

The largest of the rallies is expected to take place in front of the China Consulate in Makati on July 24 where more than 5,000 people are expected. Sponsored by the West Philippine Sea Coalition (WPSC) and the USP4GG, the Makati rally will feature speakers including Sen. Grace Poe, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano and Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro, former president of De la Salle University. Other speakers include Rep. Walden Bello and Rissa Hontiveros of Akbayan, Rep. Roilo Golez, former Executive Secretary Rafael Alunan III,  General Danilo Lim of the Guardians Society, as well as Solita Monsod and Jarius Bondoc.  

Expressing the sentiments of the rally’s sponsors, Inquirer columnist Conrado de Quiros wrote: “The only way we can really deter China…is not by bringing the fury of our arms to halt the invader in its tracks but by bringing the weight of global condemnation to bear on it to make it rethink the costs of occupation.

'FILIPINOS UNITE' ARTISTS' COLLABORATION

The Makati protest rally will feature the debut performance of an unprecedented collaboration of Filipino artists from around the world who came together to produce a song and video in response to the escalating tensions with China in the West Philippine Sea.  They have labeled the project “Operation: Change the World” and their songs can be viewed online at www.filipinosunite.com. 

Among the young artists who have come together to express their love of country are: Abra, Anne Curtis, Billy Joe Crawford, Charice Pempengco, Dcoy, Gian Magdangal, Izz, Jamir of Slapshock, Janjay, Jay R, Joshwa of Lion and The Scouts, Jugs of Itchyworms, Julianne, Karyll, Kat Agarado of Sinosikat, Kate Torralba, Kitchi Nadal, Kris Lawrence, Loonie, Mica Javier, Nimbus 9, Noel Cabangon, QYork, Roxee B and Teddy Corpus of Rocksteddy.

They have called it the “F.U. Movement” which stands for “Filipinos Unite”.  The project was spearheaded by USPGG’s Vonz Santos, an expat Fil-Am who has been actively developing awareness of the China invasion issue for many years. 

NEW YORK RALLY AT THE UN

The New York July 24 rally will be held in front of the United Nations at Dag Hammersjold Plaza at First Avenue and 43rd Street. A coalition of Filipino community groups led by the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) and the Filipino American Legal Defense Fund (FALDEF) will join members of the Vietnamese American Community of New York in protesting China’s imperialism in Southeast Asia.  

At a New York planning meeting hosted by Nicolas-Lewis on July 2, 50 Filipino leaders from the Northeast promised to mobilize their communities to attend the UN rally on July 24. Among the attendees were members of the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue (FIND), the Knights of Rizal, the National Filipino Teachers Association (NFTA), Philippine Nurses Association (PNA) and other civic groups.

SAN FRANCISCO PROTEST RALLY 

At a packed Filipino community meeting in San Francisco held at the Philippine Center on July 12, members of the Vietnamese American community led by Judge Tue Phan Quang and Atty. Tam Nguyen of the Vietnamese American Voters League. 

“I feel inspired and motivated that the people of Philippines will all stand up and wake up the world's conscience on this important topic which affects the entire region,” Atty. Tam said as he announced that his group will send at least 50 members to attend the July 24 protest rally in front of the San Francisco Chinese Consulate at 12 noon at Geary Blvd. and Laguna Street. 

Atty. Tam later emailed the San Francisco sponsors of the protest rally to inform them that Dr. Hoi Do from Florida, chair of the Vietnamese-American Federation in the US has just announced his group’s endorsement of the July 24 global protest against China. 

A mass for peace in the West Philippine Sea will be held on July 24 at 10:30 AM at the St. Mary’s Cathedral on Geary Blvd, just half a block from the Chinese Consulate. Concelebrating the mass will be Fr. Abraham Alonzo, Fr. Mark Reburiano and Fr. Ray Albano. All 81 Filipino Catholic priests in the San Francisco Archdiocese have been invited to attend the mass and to bring along their parishioners.  

State Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) reminded rally organizers at a July 4 Filipino community Independence Day picnic in San Bruno that when he spoke at the Philippine Independence Day festivities at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco on June 12, he said, speaking about the crisis in the South China Sea, “when you examine the situation objectively, when you just look at the facts, you will have to conclude the Philippines is right and China is wrong.”

GLOBAL RALLIES SET 

Rallies are also planned at the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC and at Chinese consulates in Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Saipan. Protest actions are also planned in front of Chinese government offices in Denver and Atlanta. 

In Rome, Merilla Murillo reported that a meeting on July 11 attended by almost 50 Filipinos was held to plan the protest rally in front of the local Chinese Embassy on July 24. 

Similar actions are planned in London, Sydney and Copenhagen. Even in China-dominated Cambodia, a group of Filipinos plan to protest in front of the Chinese Embassy in Pnom Penh on July 24.   

In a prayer to be delivered at the July 24 protest rally, Fr. Abraham Alonzo wrote: “We praise you Father, for walking with us through our journey to freedom from both foreign domination as well as well as from our Martial Law years… Today, more than ever, our freedom is under a serious attack by the invasion of the Communist government of China, whose godless ideology has no regard for the  basic human rights of its neighbors much less of its own people.” 

The New York Times op-ed article of Loida Nicolas-Lewis ends with this statement which reflects the sentiments of the Filipinos protesting on July 24:  

“To the government of China, we say, the will of a Filipino people that is united is more powerful than your threats and your armaments.   To the people of China, we declare, we have no quarrel with you but with your government, which has established a Manchukuo-style regime in Sansha City to lord over the South China Sea.  To the people of the world we say, we are confident that you will support our quest to ensure that justice, not brute force, will prevail.”

For more information on the global protest on July 24, please log on to uspgg.org.

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