• Commiserate with Chinese friends over Tianjin tragedy

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    WITHOUT publicizing their words, some Filipinos have been saying in private about the tragically lethal August 12 chemical explosion in the port city of Tianjin “Buti nga! (Serves them right!)” These Filipinos are among those whose sense of patriotism has been deeply wounded by the Chinese government’s determination to create man-made islands–and building fortifications on them–by reclaiming the reefs and islets in our sovereign territory in the West Philippine Sea.

    But that is a wrong attitude born out of a wrong mentality and unchristian heart.

    The Tianjin explosion killed at least 114 people wounded nearly 700 persons and caused thousands to be evacuated to new homes.

    The human misery and emotional pain in Tianjin must be as bad as that our countrymen suffer in horrible fires that could have been prevented if safety rules and regulations had not been ignored. In Tianjin, there have been reports of safety rule violations too. The warehouse that blew up apparently had a dangerously large amount of sodium cyanide, ammonium nitrate and potassium nitrate. The toxic chemicals were stored near homes.

    As in the Philippines, corruption may have also been a factor. The son of a former police chief was reportedly a hidden co-owner of the warehouse. His connections and political weight allowed his company to have operational permits and licenses.

    The environmental damage has been tremendous, although official reports say there has been no toxic chemical pollution in the River Hai where floating dead fish were found kilometers away from the warehouse explosion.

    Some foreign commentators about China view this event as just one more sign that China’s global economic and industrial leadership is built on weak foundations and a strong-armed command structure.

    They point out that China’s business and industrial affairs are not transparent to the outside world. That statistics from China are not reliable.

    Yes. It’s true China’s great corporations and industries are state-owned and that there is a lot of pressure on news organizations to refrain from telling the full story and giving the correct statistics.

    This is because China is run by an authoritarian government.

    It is right for businessmen and industrialists outside China, who deal with Chinese counterparts and invest money in Chinese projects, to want to know the truth.

    But it is not right– bad, evil and cruel– for Filipinos to rejoice when bad things happen to fellow human beings in China. Ordinary Filipinos must practice and promote friendship and cooperation with ordinary Chinese people.

    For ordinary Chinese people are just like ordinary Filipino people.

    If we Filipinos are to think, feel and behave as the believers in God that more than 90 percent of our population are supposed to be, then we must have the good of our fellow human beings in our hearts and mind.

    Besides, we must not forget that almost every Filipino has some Chinese blood in him, just like our national hero Jose Rizal.

    We have a duty to be in solidarity with the Chinese people–and have compassion in our hearts for them.

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    1 Comment

    1. This editorial shows the “maturity” and wisdom of The Manila Times. Moreover, it reflects the true spirit of Christianity (although I am not a Christian). More power to your newspaper and to your editor. If more Christians think and act like this, then one dayI may consider being one.