Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has described China’s massive claims over the South China Sea as “fake news of the century,” adding that this “gigantic fraud on the human race” needed to be rectified.
Carpio, who has been advocating for the assertion of the county’s sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea, said a counter-narrative must be promoted.
All this the fake history of the millennium, fake news of the century. I call this the gigantic fraud on the human race,” Carpio said in his speech during a forum on Democracy and Disinformation held at Ateneo de Davao over the weekend.
“This historical narrative is taught to every Chinese citizen from grade school to college...They know this by heart and they really believe it, they sincerely believe it,” he added.
The Philippines and China are locked in a maritime dispute over portions of the South China Sea.
On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration rendered an arbitral award favorable to the Philippines, invalidating China’s nine-dash-line claims and clarifying the country’s exclusive economic zone, including the West Philippine Sea. Until now, Beijing has refused to recognize it.
To disprove China’s nine-dash-line territorial claims, Carpio presented old maps from Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties which indicate that Hainan had consistently been the southernmost territory of China, not the Paracels, Spratlys, nor the Scarborough Shoal.
The most senior SC justice said it was only in 1932 that China made a note verbale that the Paracels belonged to the mainland. In 1946, China began to claim the Spratlys and it was only after 1947 that it gave a name to the Scarborough Shoal.
Carpio also refuted Beijing’s claim that one of the 27 observatories put up by Chinese astronomer Guo Shoujing during the Yuan Dynasty was built in the Scarborough Shoal.
“The biggest rock on the Scarborough Shoal is just 2 to 3 meters above water at high tide, and not more than six to 10 people can stand on it,” Carpio said.
“Physically, the massive astronomical observatories that Guo Shoujing erected in other places in China could not possibly fit on the tiny rocks of the Scarborough Shoal,” he added.
According Carpio, one significant measure to debunk “the grandest disinformation that a country has inflicted to the world since World War II” is to educate and convince the Chinese people with the truth that the lone historical narrative they learned was “totally false.”
“I cannot expect the Chinese government to comply with the ruling because if it complies with the ruling today, the Chinese people will overthrow the Chinese government for giving away the sacred territory of China. They have a mantra—we will not give up a square inch of Chinese territory that was bequeathed to us by our ancestors through the centuries,” the magistrate said.