Islands Apart: A Current Look at the Chinese Experience in the Philippines




Masucol, Ethan

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This paper assesses patterns of discrimination against the Chinese Filipino community in the Philippines in relation to Sino-Philippine relations. Political science literature suggests that national security threats and interstate conflict will generally result in domestic backlash against related diasporas or ethnic minorities. Maritime disputes between Beijing and Manila in the South China Sea should therefore be expected to have spillover effects on the Chinese Filipino community. Yet, Chinese Filipinos do not face formal discrimination or social ostracization, contradicting the general trend. This disconnect is best explained by two reasons: Chinese Filipinos are largely accepted in Philippine society after their eventual integration as an economically important cultural minority; and the positive aspects of the Philippines’ relationship with China help temper reactionary, nationalistic responses to ongoing territorial disputes.

This paper aimed to investigate the unique experience of Chinese Filipinos through a variety of ways, namely: qualitative historical research of the Chinese Filipino community and Sino-Philippine relations; a quantitative content analysis coding changes in rhetoric from the governments of China and the Philippines overtime; and quantitative survey research on Filipino attitudes towards China and ethnic Chinese. Additionally, this paper reviews the troubled history of Chinese Indonesians in relation to Sino-Indonesian relations to highlight differences with the development of the Chinese Filipino community.



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