The Philippines won a major legal victory against China in a recent Hague verdict. But as China reportedly refused to acknowledge the international ruling, observers note of growing tensions. For his part, Bro. Eli Soriano addresses the Chinese Christians about the biblical importance of respecting a covenant.
Writing under the pseudonym Mr. Controversy on July 16, the International Evangelist is hoping that Chinese leaders regard the international tribunal ruling, who rejected the Chinese government’s claims to (Scarborough Shoal, locally-known as Panatag Shoal) parts of the South China Sea claimed by the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries.
The title of Bro. Eli’s latest blog is “Greed and Shamelessness in the South China Sea Issue.”
Bro. Eli said that when you disregard something you have agreed upon with others, it is shamelessness, quoting the Book of Romans 14:22 (Revised Standard Version), which says: “The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God; happy is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves.”
The blogging preacher extensively wrote about the decision made by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Citing research about the dispute, he mentioned that the territorial dispute took the Aquino Administration three years before UNCLOS could decide in voiding China’s claim on the disputed waters affecting not just the Philippines but other surrounding countries as well.
“Why is China wrong? It is wrong in principle, in moral, and in every aspect of justice!,” said Bro. Eli, adding “In principle, because it is signatory to the UNCLOS.”
In an online news report from UNTV News and Rescue, it is said that China has long since claimed historical ownership over a vast area in the West Philippine Sea (previously called South China Sea) which was shown well in the illustration of the nine-dash line.
China’s reclamation efforts have been proven prejudicial to the livelihoods of not only many Filipino fishermen in the area, but also other countries in Southeast Asia which lay claims to the disputed waters, according to a separate UNTV news and Rescue report.
In the blog article, Bro. Eli wrote that since China had signed UNCLOS in 1982 and to this day remains a member of the said body, it should not retract the agreement to acknowledge international decisions made by UNCLOS.
“Once a person or a group has agreed on a covenant and the covenant was ratified nobody may add or subtract to the conditions set forth,” wrote Bro. Eli in his blog site, then quoted Galatians 3:15, which says: “Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.”
Lawrence Martin, a member of the Philippine Legal Counsel, said, “When it ratified the Law of the Sea Convention, it agreed to all of the provisions of the convention and among the articles of the provision is Article 287 which says that one state may initiate an arbitration against another state unilaterally.”
In the same blog, the televangelist reminisced his personal encounters with Chinese men, articulating his positive impressions of them. “A considerable part of the Philippine population is Chinese by blood. They have learned to be religious also like Filipinos. Some, if not majority of them, have become Christians.”
In light of this, he wondered how the government of China can be inconsiderate to the Filipinos now “to the extent of harassing our fishermen in the South China Sea.” And besides, if international law and agreement would be counted for, the South China Sea is part of the Philippines’ heritage, and there are laws for it.
To think that for many decades, the preacher wrote, the Philippines has become “home to most of its people seeking for greener pastures, which are not available in China.”
Bro. Eli remarked at the last part of his blog article that he bears no hate against China’s people, but he opposed the rudeness of their leaders. “It could be because they are not Christians!”
Users expressed their agreement to the blog author.
The blog was published and shared on the same day on Mr. Controversy Extraordinary’s Facebook page, which has now over sixty thousand followers, and garnered over 5,000 shares.
The hashtag, #ChinaMustRespectTheHague, also trended nationwide that evening.
Written by Ma. Therese Quita