China, the world’s second-largest economy and a key member of the Asia-Pacific community of nations, is providing the Philippines with an initial disaster relief package totaling $100,000 — an international example of the government’s stingy response to humanitarian disasters.
In the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, a wave of international rescue and humanitarian aid poured into Manila, estimated to be as much as $100 million in pledges.
The U.S. government provided an urgent humanitarian assistance of $20 million and dispatched the USS George Washington aircraft carrier battle group to the Philippines to deliver help.
An advance team of 90 U.S. Marines and sailors arrived quickly to conduct rescue and relief operations. The U.S. Agency for International Development also launched a comprehensive aid operation in the Philippines to help the tens of thousands of victims of the deadly storm.
Japan provided $10 million — 100 times greater that the aid initially pledged by China. Tokyo also sent a 25-member team of medical and relief workers to the nation. Australia, Great Britain, the United Arab Emirates and the European Union have each given $10 million. South Korea pledged $5 million and New Zealand offered $1.7 million.
On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang tried to justify China’s relief package.
“China is a victim of Typhoon Haiyan, too,” he told reporters. “We are willing to see any further development of the damage assessment and consider, within our capability, some further humanitarian support and assistance.”
According to China’s official news agency, Haiyan had weakened significantly to a “tropical low pressure zone” when it landed on a small area of China’s southern maritime provinces, without causing any significant property damages or casualties.
On Wednesday, President Xi Jinping sent a belated condolence note to the Philippine government, and China — the world’s second-largest economy — announced another aid package of tents and towels said to be worth $1.6 million.
The Chinese government has been fanning antiPhilippine sentiment through its propaganda outlets for the past several years, often belittling the country’s leaders and people.
The online military forum of Sina.com, China’s most popular Internet site, is running a discussion about helping a country “as despicable as the Philippines?” The postings include vitriolic and racist comments against the Philippines.
“Countries like the Philippines are serving the U.S. They are the running dog and slave of the United States,” said one post from a user called “xiaoqi.”
A post from “yhscy” declared: “Whoever gives donation to the Philippines is a traitor to China.”
Miles Yu’s column appears Fridays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and @Yu_miles.