A senior Chinese official said there is no boycott of foreign products in the wake of a recent ruling by an international tribunal on the South China Sea arbitration case.
Deputy Minister of Commerce Gao Yan made the remarks in response to media questions regarding a reported boycott of products from the United States and the Philippines at a press conference on Tuesday, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Gao said China has been enjoying stable economic and trade relations with the Philippines over the past year and is willing to develop mutually beneficial trade and economic ties between both countries in various forms.
On July 12 the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled that China’s claims of sovereignty over most of the South China Sea have no legal basis and that Beijing had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights by building artificial islands and preventing its fishing and oil exploration activities in the disputed waters.
The ruling, which Beijing has rejected, has spurred nationalistic sentiments among many Chinese people, who called for a boycott of products from the Philippines and the US, which they said had instigated Manila to lodge the arbitration case as part of efforts to contain China’s growing power.
The boycott campaign has targeted bananas and other imports from the Philippines as well as US restaurant chains operating in China such as KFC, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut.
Following the arbitration ruling, some Chinese netizens turned their ire on a Japanese woman who posted a video of herself eating 137 bananas.
Although the video was meant to show the woman’s enormous eating prowess, Chinese viewers saw some hidden message in it as they said the bananas were obviously from the Philippines and the number of bananas referred to China’s population of 1.37 billion.
It was also reported that a company in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, told its employees that those using Apple Inc.’s iPhone will receive a subsidy if they switch to other brands while those who insist on using the American brand is at risk of being sacked.
Meanwhile, anti-China mood also appears to be on the rise in Vietnam, which also has territorial disputes with China.
A Vietnamese television station reportedly stopped the broadcast of Chinese serial drama Shanghai Bund, after its lead actor, Huang Xiaoming, voiced support for Beijing’s claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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