The Philippine embassy in China has advised its citizens to be cautious of personal “threats” and stay away from political debates ahead of the tribunal ruling over a bitter dispute in the West Philippine Sea.
The Philippines filed a case with an international tribunal in The Hague in 2013 contesting China, which claims nearly all of the strategically vital sea, even waters approaching the coasts of the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations. China refused to participate in the hearing and has vowed to ignore the decision.
In an e-mail to Philippine citizens in China, the embassy advised to be cautious because of tensions. They were advised to avoid and to refrain from joining meetings and public discussions on political issues, especially on social media. They were urged to carry identification papers at all times and report and threat received to the embassy and Chinese police.
Nationalist protests are common in China, especially if authorities tacitly support the protests. One such example is the protest in streets in major cities in 2012 after Tokyo took over some of the disputed islands known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan in the East China Sea. They attacked Japanese diplomatic facilities and businesses, pestered individual Japanese, and turned over Japanese-brand vehicles in demonstrations initially disregarded by authorities.
More than 20 Chinese police were positioned outside the Philippine embassy on Tuesday morning, along with two lorries loaded with crowd control barriers.