LOS ANGELES—Filipino-Americans denouncing China as a big bully on Saturday (May 12 in Manila) accused the Chinese consulate here of harassing them by releasing toxic sewage while they held a rally in front of the consulate building.
About 50 demonstrators noticed a foul odor and traced it to sewage flowing through the roadside drain on the street where they gathered to protest an escalating territorial dispute between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea.
“They opened the toilet, but are we going to stop?” asked rally leader Adrian Licaros of the US Pinoys for Good Governance, speaking in Filipino. The ralliers, some covering their noses with handkerchiefs, responded by chanting “China stinks.”
Another protester, Art Garcia, said it wasn’t the first time the Chinese consulate “intentionally released sewage from their office building” during a protest action.
Garcia, a community leader representing the Justice for Filipino American Veterans (JFAV) and Alliance Philippines, said protesters had a similar experience when they demonstrated against China’s claiming Kalayaan Islands in front of the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles.
The ralliers chanted protest slogans, carried placards and waved the Philippine flag as they demanded that China withdraw its ships from Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (Manila’s name for South China Sea). Both China and the Philippines claim the shoal as part of their territory and, for five weeks now, their ships have been facing off with each other at the shoal, defending the rival claims.
“We consider this encroachment on sovereignty as an invasion,” said lawyer Roman Mosqueda, president of the Filipino American Movement for Empowerment.
Mosqueda, who has a doctorate in international law from the University of Michigan, said he’d like to see the issue resolved “diplomatically, through mediation and by bringing this before the international tribunal.”
“[China] is not going to kick us around. We are going to fight,” said Danny Lamila of the Filipino American Defense League.
Other groups participating in the afternoon rally were the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles and Bantay Pilipinas-USA.
Similar rallies were held at other Chinese embassies around the world on Friday as part of the “Global Day of Action against China’s Bullying in the West Philippine Sea.”
The Chinese government this week took a variety of actions against the Philippines, including increasingly rigid screening of fruits coming into China and ordering large tour operators to suspend packages to the Philippines.