Philippines Daily Inquirer: “Understanding China”

The following is a Huanqiu Shibao account of a guest article in the Philippines Daily Inquirer. The original article was published on June 5; Huanqiu Shibao followed on June 7 (local time).

Not every line of my translation (back into English) may be accurate, and Huanqiu’s account does not reflect the original Inquirer article in full. I have listed some of the major differences (as I seem them) as footnotes. I haven’t noted every difference in the terms chosen by the author of the original, and the Huanqiu translator/editor.

Main Link 1: Huanqiu Shibao, June 7, 07:01
Main Link 2: Philippines Inquirer (original)

Summary: During the past few months, centering around the Philippine-Chinese dispute, there has been a lot of discussion from the Philippines’ perspective. The Philippine public also needs to understand the country they are dealing with. The claim Beijing makes on what they call the Huangyan Island is based on the belief that “China first discovered and named it, integrated it into its territory and exercised jurisdiction over it”.

摘要: 近几个月,围绕菲中岛屿之争,从菲律宾视角的讨论已很多,菲公众也有必要了解与之打交道的国家。北京对其所说的黄岩岛的主权要求是基于一种信念,即“中国首先发现、命名并将其并入版图及实行管辖”。

Philippine Inquirer essay, June 5, original title: Understanding China

《菲律宾每日问询者报》6月5日文章,原题:理解中国

During the past few months, centering around the Philippine-Chinese dispute, there has been a lot of discussion from the Philippines’ perspective. The Philippine public also needs to understand the country they are dealing with. The claim Beijing makes on what they call the Huangyan Island is based on the belief that “China first discovered and named it, integrated it into its territory and exercised jurisdiction over it”. China sees it as part of its inherent territory, and, like Taiwan and Tibet, as belonging to its “core interests”. China also sees it as an indespensable part of the entire Zhongsha Islands [i. e. the Macclesfield Bank – JR]. As a key part [of it], “losing or winning it is believed to decide if you lose or win the entire archipelago”1). Therefore, China insists on its territorial claim, worrying that “by letting go an inch, a yard would be lost”2).

近几个月,围绕菲中岛屿之争,从菲律宾视角的讨论已很多,菲公众也有必要了解与之打交道的国家。北京对其所说的黄岩岛的主权要求是基于一种信念,即“中国首先发现、命名并将其并入版图及实行管辖”。中国视其为固有领土的一部分,与台湾和西藏一样,属于国家“核心利益”。中国还将其视为整个中沙群岛不可或缺的部分。作为一个关键组成部分,“它的失与得被认为决定整个群岛的失与得”。因此,中国坚持领土主张,担心“弃一寸,丢一丈”。

As can be seen from these factors, China’s room for negotiations is small. This means that the Philippines are demanded to respect Chinese sovereignty in this matter, or at least not to create anything that China would see as “tensions”. Otherwise, China could respond, in a sea standoff or in a deadlock in negotiations, and drag matters out as long as it takes.

从这些因素看,对中国而言谈判空间狭小。这就等于要求菲律宾在该问题上尊重中国主权,至少不要做出任何在中国看来制造“紧张”的事。不然,北京就会以海上对峙或谈判僵局来回应,想拖多久就拖多久。

In such deadlock, China will make use of its diplomatic, economic and military power. The action recently taken were seen as measures to avoid loss of “face”within the international community, and “trust” within among citizens at home.

当事情陷入僵局时,中国会利用外交、经济和军事力量。最近的行动被视为是防止中国在国际社会丢“脸”及失“信”于本国国民的必要之举。

In terms of diplomacy, China insists on resolving disputes by its own methods. The Philippines proposed to submit the dispute to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, which China has always opposed. From Beijing’s perspective, to settle disputes through multilateral channels carries political risks3). China likes bilateral channels, as this allows is asymmetric power advantage over the Philippines. China also draws on a huge amount of economic resources as means to defend its security interests. This includes sanctions on Philippine agricultural exports, and calling a halt to Chinese tourism on the Philippines. In this protracted standoff, it is to be expected that China uses the economy as a weapon as a veiled warning to its counterpart. Apart from that, China displays military power to warn the Philippines not to take provocative measures. China has dispatched warships from its huge modernized fleet, signalling that “China doesn’t want war, but absolutely doesn’t fear war”.

外交上,中国坚持按自己的方式解决争端。菲律宾提出将争端提交给国际海洋法法庭,中国向来表示反对。在北京看来,通过多边途径解决争端具有政治风险。中国喜欢通过双边途径,这样可利用与菲实力不对称的优势。北京还动用庞大的经济资源,作为捍卫安全利益的有力手段。这包括制裁菲农产品出口、叫停中国人赴菲旅游。在这场持久对峙中,预计中国会把经济当武器,向对方发出隐晦警告。此外,中国展示军力警告菲不要采取挑衅措施。北京从现代化的庞大舰队中抽调舰只,发出“中国不想战争,但绝不怕战争”的信息。

These methods have created negative effects. In the West, China is seen as an arrogant country which increases vanity by economic power on a daily basis. In Asia, China is seen as an empire making a comeback which regards its neighboring countries as tributary states. In the Philippines, China is basically seen as a “bully”4).

这些做法造成负面效果。在西方,中国被视为嚣张国家,因经济实力增长而日益自负。在亚洲,中国被视为卷土重来的帝国,把邻国当成臣服的附庸国。在菲律宾,中国基本被视为“恃强凌弱者”。

In fact, China’s behavior as a country is normal. Like other countries, China’s approach is based on safeguarding its own interests. To pursue its global interests, China applies enormous resources and power. This isn’t different from other countries5).

其实,作为一个国家,中国的行为属正常之举。与其他国家一样,中国的做法是基于保护自身的国家利益。为了追求其全球利益,中国使用庞大的资源和实力。这点也与其他大国并无二致。

That China pursues its national interests is an unalterable truth. Hopefully, China won’t overbearingly use economic and military force. China’s threats and sanctions – without official acknowledgement, will only arouse and exacerbate tensions. If Beijing exercises restraint, the Philippines can trust China, negotiate, and hopefully arrive at a result which is acceptable to both sides.

中国追求本国国家利益天经地义,但愿北京不要咄咄逼人地使用经济、军事力量。中国的威胁和制裁——尽管没有得到官方承认,只会激起并加剧紧张。若北京更加克制,菲律宾将能信任中国,并与其谈判,但愿也能达成双方都接受的结果。

(The author, Andrea Chloe Huang, is a senior fellow and translator at the Philippine Foreign Service Institute)

((作者安德烈亚·克洛伊·黄是菲外交学院高级研究员,乔恒译))

Copyrighted work, without authorization by “Huanqiu Shibao”, reprinting is strictly prohibited, offenders will be held liable.

版权作品,未经《环球时报》书面授权,严禁转载,违者将被追究法律责任。

(Editor in charge: Guo Wenjing)

((责任编辑:郭文静))

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Notes

1) The original’s explanation is more detailed than the Huanqiu translation:

China also views Scarborough Shoal as an indispensable element that could generate potential maritime zones as part of the whole Zhongsha Islands. It regards the shoal as a critical component, “the loss or gain of which is thought to determine the loss or gain of the whole island group.” Thus, China is steadfast in its claim, fearing that if it “gives up an inch, it would lose a yard.”

2) The Chinese measures cun and zhang are used in the translation.

3)The argument that it would be illogical to submit a sovereign country’s territory to international arbitration is left out in Huanqiu’s translation:

It [China] has already objected to the Philippines’ proposition to elevate the dispute to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, arguing that it is illogical to submit a sovereign country’s territory to international arbitration.

4) One reader “liked” the original article by Thursday night. It doesn’t seem unlikely that the Huanqiu editor pushed the button, but a few lines simply go too far:

It is largely viewed as a “bully” bent on putting pressures on the Philippines to yield to its demands in a persistent attempt to consolidate its territories as if it were above international law.

Emphasis added – this is what is missing in Huanqiu’s account.

5) Also missing:

Ultimately, what the spat in Scarborough Shoal reveals is not simply the competition for overlapping territories and the validity of territorial claims. Essentially, it exposes a critical showdown of state behaviors, particularly so when China, as a major power, throws its weight around, and the Philippines, as a small power, struggles to put up a decent “fight” and stand its ground.

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Related

» Keep it Simple, June 24, 2011
» Three Commandments, June 19, 2010

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