The Philippines is at the crossroads in its China policy. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has turned out to be more of pro-China leader. But Philippine military has different plans- it wants to take on Beijing and contain its hegemony.
China wants to have its way in Manila. But the Philippine military is a big obstacle. So, what will China do? Well, it has decided to bribe and hijack the Philippine National Police and turn it against the Philippine military.
China bribing Philippine National Police
China has reportedly donated 52 laptop computers to the Philippine National Police (PNP). Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian met with PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos on Thursday, wherein ideas like combating terrorism and other forms of national crimes was discussed.
Carlos said, “Our exchange of expertise will be very instrumental in our resolve to boost the agencies’ cooperation in fighting several crimes that were associated with the rise of Chinese workers in the country.”
Carlos also said that Huang’s courtesy call at Camp Crame was a leap forward in ensuring that their efforts evolve into realisation.
Why is China bribing PNP with laptops?
Well, you might be wondering why China is giving laptops to win favour with the Philippine National Police. China could have been given arms or sophisticated communications equipment to the PNP to impress it.
But it all makes a lot of sense when you realise that China has donated 52 Huawei Matebook laptops in the form of support and assistance to the Filipino security force.
Huawei alleged to pose security and espionage risks
These are no ordinary laptops. Huawei has faced allegations of posing security risks in telecom networks. Former US President Donald Trump had even launched a wide-ranging crackdown against the Chinese telecom major over espionage concerns. Australia had banned Huawei over such concerns.
In 2020, the United Kingdom too banned Huawei and asked all its telecom operators to phase out all Huawei equipment from their 5G networks by 2027. India and Japan too have seemed sceptical of the Chinese telecom major, and have promoted indigenous telecom majors.
In fact, Huawei had also built a National Data Centre in Papua New Guinea (or PNG), an island country north of Australia, with a loan of 53 million dollars from the Export-Import Bank of China. A study financed by the Australian government had revealed that Huawei had built a faulty data centre which was being used by the People’s Liberation Army for military activities.
So, the fact remains that using Huawei equipment may not be the best deal for a government agency, especially when that government agency is a police force in a country like the Philippines. After all, the Philippines and China are no friends. China has occupied Philippine territory in the South China Sea region in the past, and is planning to steal yet more territory from Manila.
In fact, the Philippine defence establishment hates the Chinese and wants to keep them away from the Filipino territory. Philippine military has been fighting Chinese expansionism despite Rodrgio Duterte’s tendency to go soft on Beijing. So, China went a step further and has now donated Huawei laptops to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and hijacks the institution in order to guard itself against the Philippine military.
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