Typhoon Haiyan: China rebuked for 'stingy' aid

 
A US Marine loads supplies bound for typhoon victims onto a helicopter.

China has been criticised for its clumsy approach to aid in the aftermath of the Philippines disaster, and some US analysts think it could affect the geopolitical balance in South East Asia.

China initially pledged $100,000 (£62,000) in humanitarian support - and later raised the amount to $1.6m. But even this amount is still dwarfed by contributions from Australia, the US, the European Union, the United Kingdom and even the Swedish furniture company Ikea, which pledged $2.7m.

The initial Chinese reluctance to provide a significant amount of aid has also made it the butt of late-night comedy jokes, as Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Report called the Chinese "stingy jerks" and asked his viewers to outraise the nation's initial donation - a feat they accomplished by this afternoon.

Start Quote

One reason China's efforts to develop its soft power have failed is the utilitarian way Beijing approaches the rest of the world”

End Quote William Pesek Columnist, Bloomberg View

In other words, the damage to China's international reputation is significant.

In a Bloomberg View column, William Pesek quotes Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group in New York, regarding the challenge for China if it wants to supplant the US as the power in the region: "It's very hard to call for… de-Americanisation and then leave your wallet at home when there's a human disaster the scale of the typhoon in the Philippines."

Mr Pesek sees this as a larger problem with the way China approaches foreign policy:

One reason China's efforts to develop its soft power have failed is the utilitarian way Beijing approaches the rest of the world. Instead of using culture, adept diplomacy and trashy movies to seduce other countries, China hands out cold, hard cash. All the investment poured into railways in Indonesia, tunnels in Brazil, power grids in Cambodia, hydroelectric projects in Laos, bridges in Vietnam, roads in Zambia, factories in Malaysia, airports in Myanmar, and mining rigs in Uzbekistan comes with a high cost. In return, China demands complete docility. That's the message being sent to the Philippines now.

Only a month ago, China held court at an Asian summit, while President Obama sat at home due to the US government shutdown. Now, some analysts are writing, the United States has a new opportunity to make friends and influence nations.

Start Quote

Let's not forget that China was also hit by Haiyan”

End Quote Editorial China Daily

According to Jonah Blank of the Rand Corporation, the United States can build on the regional goodwill it engendered following the 2004 Asian tsunami: "Nearly a decade later, the effort may rank as one of the most concrete reasons South East Asian nations trust the long-term US commitment to a strategy of 'Asian rebalancing.'"

Sydney J Freedburg writes for Breaking Defense that even if China wanted to help, it could not respond in the same way the US has. The Chinese Navy simply does not have the transport capacity and facilities of the US Navy.

"Those facts represent a major US advantage not only in this one incident in the Philippines but in the long-term struggle for influence across the Western Pacific," he writes.

Aside from humanitarian aid, one concrete way the US could help, according to Craig Hooper in the Next Navy blog, is to resupply Philippines and Vietnamese outposts on South China Sea islands, which have been under effective Chinese blockade.

"Rather than wait for China to seize the islands," Mr Hooper writes, "it is time for the US to get out there, do a safety check, help the Filipino soldiers build up some MRE [meals ready to eat] stockpiles, refresh their communications equipment, and, if possible, arrange safer, more habitable living arrangements."

All of this has Chinese media, which had previously been a bit fragmented on how to address the humanitarian crisis, sounding defensive.

"Those China bashers must harbour ill intentions, aimed at either tarnishing China's image in the world arena or sowing further seeds of discord between China and the Philippines - as if the territorial dispute was not enough," writes the state-run China Daily.

(From reports provided by BBC Monitoring)

 

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  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 181.

    Yet another proof that China is not going to be an influencing superpower. Stephen Colbert is right on with his 'stingy jerks' remark. China just has no clue how to act normal after getting rich. This is part of the culture there. Guess why riches are hated in China?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 180.

    Catholic Relief already has boots on the ground in the Philippines. My church feeds the poor & needy and this is no exception.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 179.

    It seems the cushy-life folks the Philippines worships and donates plenty to don't seem to care much.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 178.

    Why suddenly many anti-China comments? ive just returned from China ,Hong Kong and Macau. Im amazed at the infrastructure and progress of living standards, yes it will become no1 in the world economically and politically . I for one welcome that compared to USA dominance, One of greed and violence,

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 177.

    The Vatican gets monetary donations from Catholic-(majority) / Islamic Philippines and around the world but they only gave $150,000.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 176.

    I hope alexlee79's message 175 means he or she has gone. It was distressing to see how uch damage he or she was doing to the reputation of china as a civilised nation able to live in a community of nations. I am afraid that it seemed very similar, to me, to what I read about Germans in the 1930s justifiying Hitler's actions, statements and beliefs.
    I now worry for the world.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 175.

    @173

    Please read 169. Farslayer 's comment!

    And also, please stay tuned on BBC as when the UK Prime Minister David Cameron comes to China next month for CHINA's CHEAP money. BBC will make is as a headline!

    Bye...Have a good day!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 174.

    "It doesn't help victims to rank aid givers" - Spoton

    Wow. To suggest it is Filipinos who are shining a spotlight on China's response to Haiyan and the offensive online remarks of their nationals is slanderous.

    You are mistaking them for Westerners concerned about China's rhetoric and actions vis-à-vis its aspirations for global leadership, of which I happen to be one.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 173.

    @ 171.alexlee79
    @ 170. nowhere-zero

    And where is the UK government money from???
    ^^^

    Taxpayers ultimately, within that borrowed against profit on the open market.
    What's your point?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 172.

    "You've never come across any remarks from British citizens saying we shouldn't give aid to foreign countries?" - Spoton

    No. What major international disaster have British people demanded their government not lift a finger?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 171.

    @170. nowhere-zero

    And where is the UK government money from???

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 170.

    @168 alexlee79
    Here you can find where UK aid money goes. There's £17m for Vietnam in recent years.

    http://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/

    The flood you mention, although tragic, is not comparable in scale to the recent typhoon.

    Your logic is flawed. It's over emotional. Too sensitive, too angry. Even though, it's common nature to only look for evidence that backs up what we already believe.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 169.

    This is an unbalanced article. The population of China is about 200 times that of the UK but the economy is certainly not 200 times bigger than ours! A lot of the UK's wealth was built on the looting of China and our opium trade, which the author seems to have forgotten.
    Quoting from Stephen Colbert about China must mean that soon Jim Davidson will be quoted regarding African politics!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 168.

    @ jruth1999

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-24977283
    Can you tell me why BBC did not put it as headline?

    Is that means the Filipino's life is more important than the Vietnamese's?

    Do you think BBC will report will report live for at least "7" days from Vietnam just like what the BBC did for the Philippine?
    Will the UK government committed at least £20m to the Vietnamese?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 167.

    Sajad: Fortunately, Pakistan has no territorial or other political disputes with China. Chinese nationals are discouraging their government from offering aid to people in Tacloban because the Philippine government has a dispute with theirs. Translation: "China will acknowledge your humanity only if you acquiesce to Chinese foreign policy."

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 166.

    @ 165 Sajad

    Nothing to do with a shared animosity towards India of course...

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 165.

    China has always helped her neighbours for long term, financially help to europe, USA, infact almost every country. In Pakistan from new power station to road and rail network, but they do not require Pakistanis to bow and praise them, they treat us as equals, and inspite of all trade and military help they never ask for any favours. Unlike westren help always comes with strings attached.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 164.

    #158. jruth1999
    " But how do you think they feel coming across remarks by Chinese nationals openly demanding their government not a lift a finger at a time like this?"

    Er ? And you've never come across any remarks from British citizens saying we shouldn't give aid to foreign countries

    It doesn't help victims to rank aid givers

    This HYS is about increasing prejudice and it stinks
    Good night

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 163.

    @160. spoton

    Agreed and BBC where is the headline for the Vietnamese?

    Will the BBC report live for at least "7" days from Vietnam just like what the BBC did for the Philippine?

    I would like to see the UK government committed at least £20m to the Vietnamese so the China government can learn from the UK government.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 162.

    @ 159 alexlee79
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24906730

    Uh-huh, so?

    Why you keep re-posting that same link?

 

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