Factors behind growing anti-Chinese sentiments in the Philippines

September 6, 2019 - 6:13 PM
Chinese workers
Illegal Chinese workers (The STAR/Boy Santos)

A post from a Reddit user expressing distaste on the influx of Chinese workers near his workplace prompted others to remind fellow Filipinos to be critical but also to be understanding of their behavior.

Reddit user u/rinny37, who introduced himself to have Chinese descent, lamented that he did not mean to be xenophobic but sought to air his sentiments on the matter.

Part of his long post on September 4 read:

“The sudden influx of Chinese workers in the metro is overwhelming. I never hated the Chinese before. Heck, I’ve harbored no strong racism or racial bias against any race before. I went to an international school for a few years, interned abroad, and mingled with all races- Whites, Blacks, Latinos, Asian- so I’m used to befriending people from different cultures. But the Chinese workers here are…frustrating.” 

Similar stories of experiences around the influx of Chinese workers poured in the comments section of the post.

Some, however, pacified the user and said that factors such as cultural differences play a part on why foreigners from the mainland behave this way.

“Now, after unburdening yourself of these negative emotions, analyze the situation with a clear head. Get all the factors in, such as cultural differences, stereotyping, market demand, etc,” Reddit user legalapparently commented.

Another user, meanwhile, noted that some perceived unruly actions of Chinese nationals are also seen among Filipinos such casual bribery and bias on brand names.

“When you think about it, some of your points applies to your fellow Filipinos, like how they put much emphasis on money and brand names, how they bribe everything for convenience (assuming they can afford to do so), and how undisciplined and ill mannered they are at times, Filipino teenagers in particular are very loud on public places even when it is no longer appropriate,” Reddit user ktmd-life said.

Their being too loud could also just be harmless merriment, Reddit user ktmd-life, and has nothing to do with Filipinos.

“The Chinese here seems to be very loud and expressive with their laughs but looking at it from afar seems to indicate that majority of the time, they’re just laughing among themselves,” he said.

Tourists and workers

Complaints about Chinese nationals causing inconvenience and discomfort to locals of different countries have grown in recent years with some views bordering on xenophobia for the Chinese populace.

Many of these mainlanders were actually first-time travelers following China’s economic growth in the early 2000’s that allowed them to do so.

In 2013, the Chinese government acknowledged their nationals’ rowdiness and issued etiquette guide books to Chinese travelers to prevent causing further embarrassment.

The issue in the Philippines, however, mostly involves Chinese workers both legal and illegal who came to the country to work in offshore gaming companies or POGOs.

Since 2016, POGO firms had been sprouting in the busiest parts of Metro Manila and are mostly hiring expatriated Chinese workers from mainland China.

Some of them, however, were not paying income taxes with a reported omission of P32 billion, according to the Department of Finance and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Moreover, the migration caused real estate prices in areas where they live or work to rack up, making condominium spaces too expensive for Filipinos with average incomes to avail.