Protest against China's growing invasion of the Philippine Territory in the South China Sea for the extraction of petroleum and natural gas.
Rome, July 23, 2013 – A protest will be held on Thursday, the 25th of July at 16h in Piazza del Popolo in Rome. The protest is being held in response to recent aggressive incursions of Chinese military vessels. These vessels have been entering Philippine territory in the South China Sea. The protest is being organized by the Filipino Community, joined by other members of Southeast Asian communities, as well as supporters from all around the world. This protest will be one of many that will be held all over the world.
The date of the protest coincides with the anniversary of the creation of the new Chinese prefecture Sansha City. According to the Beijing government, Sansha City would have jurisdiction in an area that includes almost the entire South China Sea also known as the "9-dash line" . The area of jurisdiction of the new Prefecture includes islands that are part of the Philippine territory, and of atolls and coral reefs that are in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) has defined the maritime area to be within 200 miles of the coast.
Earlier this year, Chinese authorities have announced they will send vessels to patrol the waters in the South China Sea under the jurisdiction of the prefecture of Sansha City. In May 2013, three Chinese military vessels were stationed near the Ayungin Reef; which, is only about 105 miles from the Philippine island of Palawan, in an area monitored by a permanent military base of the Philippine Navy.
The Ayungin Reef has important strategic and economic value. It is considered the gateway to the contiguous island known as Recto Bank. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, there are deposits of 213 billion barrels of oil and 57 billion cubic meters of natural gas in the area of Recto Bank. The future and well-being of the Filipino people is dependent on the economic exploitation of these marine areas.
The Philippine government has already submitted a formal complaint to the tribunal of the United Nations against the policy of the Chinese government; that, in fact, the Chinese government is appropriating all the South Sea of China in violation of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The expansionist policy of the Chinese government is affecting not only the Philippines but also the other countries bordering on this sea; such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.
The Filipinos are taking to the streets to stop the expansionist policy of the Chinese government asking that their land, their dignity, and their rights are respected.