Wednesday, August 12, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic should be a wake-up call for a world that has accepted China’s lengthening shadow over global supply chains for far too long. Only by reducing China’s global economic influence. Now China is spreading lies to deflect world opinion against them.
Realizing it was in the firing line not just for running the nation that had unleashed the deadly virus on the world but also for ignoring, covering up and denying its spread, China’s Communist Party moved into damage-control mode. This included suggesting it was the United States that was responsible for the virus.
Chinese state media regularly tweet propaganda and what many describe as “fake news”. Global Times has 1.7 million followers on Twitter; China Xinhua News, 12.6 million; People’s Daily, 7.1 million; China Daily, 4.3 million; and China Global Television Network (CGTN), 14 million.
Zhao Lijian, spokesman and deputy director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ information department, had 287,000 followers when he tweeted a link to a conspiracy website alleging the U.S. was responsible for the virus. (Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying had 146,700 followers; the ministry’s “spokesperson” account, used by Geng Shuang, had 61,000; and Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of Global Times, had 175,000.)
With the outbreak of an epidemic, one of the first jobs of scientists and doctors, even while they fight to save lives, is to identify its source. This is critical in the search for medicines to combat a virus and a vaccine to prevent its spread.
On January 24, an article written jointly by 29 Chinese medical doctors and scientists was published in The Lancet, one of the world’s leading medical journals. The authors shared their findings from a study of patients who were suspected of having been infected with 2019-nCoV and had been admitted to a Wuhan hospital. The report said that by January 2, 41 of them had been “laboratory-confirmed” as infected with the virus – which causes Covid-19 – and two-thirds of those infected “had been exposed to the Huanan market”.
The findings appeared to support anecdotal evidence that the source of the virus was the market, which had been closed by city officials on January 1. This had been often repeated by Chinese authorities and reported widely in the global media. The Lancet article gave scientific currency to this narrative.
Then, on February 19, another study – this time published on ChinaXiv.org, an open repository and distribution website used by scientific researchers – suggested the market was likely not ground zero for the virus, but rather that it had been “imported”from outside.
The study was by a team of scientists from several institutions: Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden of Chinese Academy of Sciences; South China Agricultural University; and the Chinese Institute for Brain Research. It was revised on February 21. Neither version of the study suggested Covid-19 had originated outside China.
But the fake news machine was about to go to work.
On February 23, the People’s Daily’s English-language site reprinted a February 22 Global Times article titled, “Japanese TV report sparks speculations in China that Covid-19 may have originated in US”. The original Global Times article, which is no longer available online, began: “A report from a Japanese TV station that suspected some of the 14,000 Americans died of influenza may have unknowningly [sic] contracted the coronavirus has gone viral on Chinese social media, stoking fears and speculations in China that the novel coronavirus may have originated in the U.S.
“The report, by TV Asahi Corporation of Japan, suggested that the US government may have failed to grasp how rampant the virus have gone [sic] on the US soil.”
The article continued: “The story sparked various conspiracy theories on [sic] Chinese cyberspace.
“The Military World Games were held in Wuhan in October. ‘Perhaps the US delegates brought the coronavirus to Wuhan, and some mutation occurred to the virus, making it more deadly and contagious, and causing a widespread outbreak this year,’ a user posted on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.
“[An] international relations professor at the Shanghai-based Fudan University, noted that global virologists are working to track the origin of the virus, including the intelligence agencies. Netizens are encouraged to actively partake in discussions, but preferrably [sic] in a rational fashion.”
The original Global Times article appears to have been replaced with one about the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s denial of the TV Asahi report.
On March 4, the People’s Daily reprint of this article was used as the basis for a piece published on conspiracy website GlobalResearch.ca, titled “China’s Coronavirus: A Shocking Update. Did The Virus Originate in the US?” It was the first of two articles on the website that would lead to Zhao’s tweet nine days later suggesting the U.S. Army had brought the virus to Wuhan.
The March 4 article begins: “The Western media quickly took the stage and laid out the official narrative for the outbreak of the new coronavirus which appeared to have begun in China, claiming it to have originated with animals at a wet market in Wuhan.”
This omits a few salient facts: that China’s state-controlled media had also “laid out the official narrative”; that reporters had received that narrative from the Chinese government; and that in the early days of the outbreak, the majority of evidence, including the Lancet article by 29 Chinese doctors, pointed to the Wuhan market.
The Global Research article continues: “In fact the origin was for a long time unknown but it appears likely now, according to Chinese and Japanese reports, that the virus originated elsewhere, from multiple locations, but began to spread widely only after being introduced to the market.
“More to the point, it appears that the virus did not originate in China and, according to reports in Japanese and other media, may have originated in the U.S.”
The article then presents a subheading that inflates “may have originated in the US” to “Chinese Researchers Conclude the Virus Originated Outside of China”. Underneath, it quotes two reports – a February 22 article in Global Times and a February 23 article in CGTN – both about the ChinaXiv study, which did not suggest the virus originated outside China.
But Global Research wanted readers to draw the conclusion that it did, and so it created some dots to be connected: “Chinese medical authorities – and ‘intelligence agencies’ – then conducted a rapid and wide-ranging search for the origin of the virus, collecting nearly 100 samples of the genome from 12 different countries on 4 continents, identifying all the varieties and mutations. During this research, they determined the virus outbreak had begun much earlier, probably in November, shortly after the Wuhan Military Games.
“They then came to the same independent conclusions as the Japanese researchers – that the virus did not begin in China but was introduced there from the outside.”
That was not the “conclusion” of the scientists who posted their research on ChinaXiv.
Next, citing a February 27 story on Xinhuanet, Global Research invokes a Chinese national hero, Zhong Nanshan, who led the fight to contain severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003. “China’s top respiratory specialist Zhong Nanshan said on January 27 … ‘Though the Covid-19 was first discovered in China, it does not mean that it originated from China’.”
Global Research translates this for its readers: “But that is Chinese for ‘it originated someplace else, in another country’.”
Zhong did not say that. Neither did Xinhuanet. And the “Japanese researchers” Global Research refers to are never identified. The only reference to a Japanese source is: “In February of 2020, the Japanese Asahi news report (print and TV) claimed the coronavirus originated in the US, not in China …”
Global Research offers no link to Asahi, only a link to the February 23 People’s Daily article, which also has no Asahi link but was a reprint of the Global Times story, which appears to have been revised on February 22, and – you guessed it – provides no Asahi link.
An online search for “Asahi news coronavirus originated in the US” from February 1 to 29 reveals no link to any such Asahi article. Neither does a search of the Asahi news website, which returns 688 articles containing the word “coronavirus” through March 4. But not this one.
Global Research also cites the Fudan University quote in Global Times: “[The professor] stated that global virologists ‘including the intelligence agencies’ were tracking the origin of the virus. Also of interest, the Chinese government did not shut the door on this. The news report stated: ‘Netizens are encouraged to actively partake in discussions, but preferably in a rational fashion.’
“In China, that is meaningful. If the reports were rubbish, the government would clearly state that, and tell people to not spread false rumours.”
The final piece of “evidence” in Global Research’s March 4 article is headed “Taiwan Virologist Suggests the Coronavirus Originated in the US”, and includes an embedded video of a Taiwan television show, identified as This! Is Not News, and a screenshot of a man with a pointer giving a colourful lecture about the origins of the virus. “The man in the video is a top virologist and pharmacologist who performed a long and detailed search for the source of the virus,” claims the article.
Except the man in the video – whom the report does not name – is not a virologist at all. He is a politician from the pro-Beijing New Party and a member of the Taipei City Council, who, before entering politics full time in 2002, was a pharmacology professor.
The clip opens with an introduction from a man in a crew cut, who talks about China and Russia and Georgian defectors carrying American biowarfare secrets, and mosquitoes and bats developed by the U.S. for diabolical purposes. As he talks, tabloid-sized purple characters scroll along the bottom of the screen, punctuated with question marks and exclamation marks, and the one English acronym every conspiracy theorist worldwide knows: “CIA!”
Capping his performance is a 1981 analysis purported to have been carried out by the U.S. Army that showed the attraction of “entomological warfare” to the U.S. military and American taxpayers: 50 per cent of a city of 1.2 million people could be wiped out at a per-corpse cost of 29 cents.
Up next, “the man in the video”notes that, while the man with the crew cut had been talking in terms of Cold War-style geopolitics where everybody fears and loathes everybody else, he is there solely to discuss science. Then he waves a pointer with a plastic yellow index finger at its tip, indicating diagrams of multicoloured circles. As the most complex diagram arrives on screen, he reassures the show’s hostess, “The next slide will make it very clear.”
Such was Global Research’s Taiwan “expert evidence”. Undaunted, the article continues: “The Taiwanese doctor then stated the virus outbreak began earlier than assumed, saying, ‘We must look to September of 2019’.
“He stated the case in September of 2019 where some Japanese travelled to Hawaii and returned home infected, people who had never been to China. This was two months prior to the infections in China and just after the CDC suddenly and totally shut down the Fort Detrick bio-weapons lab claiming the facilities were insufficient to prevent loss of pathogens.”
The introduction of the U.S. Army’s Fort Detrick bio-weapons lab is a solid piece of conspiracy theory craftsmanship. The “man in the video” had not mentioned Fort Detrick – Global Research did, in an apparent attempt to tie the Taiwanese “virologist’s” Japanese travellers who visited Hawaii in September to a U.S. Army bioweapons lab.
The Fort Detrick facility had not been “suddenly and totally shut down” – it ceased research in mid-July (and not in September). And how one of the most contagious viruses in history travelled from Maryland to Hawaii over a six- to eight-week period, leaving no trail of illness and death, goes unexamined by Global Research.
For good measure, the article closes by listing six outbreaks in 2018, 2019 and 2020 of “pandemics” that “sickened” and “killed” people, chickens and pigs in China. Each includes notes such as, “China needs to purchase U.S. agricultural products,” suggesting that as part of the trade war, the U.S. has been unleashing pathogens in the mainland for more than two years in order to make China buy American.
In summary, the March 4 article invokes mainland hero Zhong, the “Japanese” and the “Taiwanese” – two American allies with no reason to lie – and adds the “CIA” and a leaky U.S. bioweapons research lab for spice. All independent and none really confirming the others while appearing to come close. Perhaps most impressive of all, the author produced almost 2,000 America-bashing words, and not one of them was “Trump”.
On March 5, without citing the Global Research March 4 piece or any of the underlying Chinese media articles, Zhao tweeted: “Confirmed cases of #COVID19 were first found in China, but its origin is not necessarily in China. We are still tracing the origin.”
On March 11, Global Research published a follow-up: “COVID-19: Further Evidence that the Virus Originated in the US”.
The story begins by recapping the March 4 article, upgrading the never-found Japanese Asahi broadcasters and the “man in the video” to “Japanese and Taiwanese epidemiologists and pharmacologists [who] have determined that the new coronavirus could have originated in the US”. The “man in the video” was now also a “physician” and a “scientist”.
Recalling his attempt to place the first Covid-19 case in the U.S., Global Research again points out, “immediately prior to that, the CDC totally shut down the U.S. Military’s main bio-lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland, due to an absence of safeguards against pathogen leakages, issuing a complete ‘cease and desist’ order to the military”.
As evidence, Global Research had posted a screenshot of an August 5 New York Times headline, “Deadly Germ Research Is Shut Down at Army Lab Over Safety Concerns; Problems with disposal of dangerous materials led the government to suspend research at the military’s leading biodefence centre”.
In fact, the New York Times article had not stated the centre had been “totally shut down”. It had reported that 900 people worked at the facility and, “Although many projects are on hold, [a facility spokeswoman] said scientists and other employees are continuing to work, just not on select agents”. Both The New York Times and a local newspaper that first reported the cessation of the research noted that no pathogens had escaped the facility.
Global Research’s March 11 story continues: “We also had the Japanese citizens infected in September of 2019, in Hawaii, people who had never been to China, these infections occurring on US soil long before the outbreak in Wuhan but only shortly after the locking down of Fort Detrick.
“Then, on Chinese social media, another article appeared, aware of the above but presenting further details. It stated in part that five ‘foreign’ athletes or other personnel visiting Wuhan for the World Military Games (October 18-27, 2019) were hospitalised in Wuhan for an undetermined infection.”
That other article is a blog on Chinese social media, identified only by a QR code, that began: “Because there have been so many American dogs recently, in consideration for my account’s safety, [I must write] ‘some country’ or ‘M Country’ [when referring to America].”
The blog entry, which appeared to be a work in progress and is no longer online, recycled much of Global Research’s March 4 article, adding screenshots of local news stories about U.S. military personnel in Wuhan for the October military games who were hospitalized.
According to Global Research: “The article explains more clearly that the Wuhan version of the virus could have come only from the US because it is what they call a ‘branch’ which could not have been created first because it would have no ‘seed’. It would have to have been a new variety spun off the original ‘trunk’, and that trunk exists only in the US.”
So there it was. A post on “Chinese social media” about “‘foreign’ athletes or other personnel visiting Wuhan for the World Military Games” in October completed the conspiracy’s journey. The fake news world had rewritten the origin of Covid-19: it was not due to a catastrophic natural occurrence somewhere in or around Wuhan, as the world’s scientists believed, but to a bioweapon brought to Wuhan by the U.S. Army.
At the end of its March 11 article, Global Research returned to January, citing two articles in Science magazine for further “evidence” of its conspiracy – neither of which states the origin of the virus was, as Global Research puts it, “Not in Wuhan” – tying a bow around the package Zhao would soon forward to hundreds of thousands, who would forward it to hundreds of millions.
On the morning of March 13, Zhao tweeted links to the Global Research articles: “This article is very much important to each and every one of us. Please read and retweet it. COVID-19: Further Evidence that the Virus Originated in the US. It would be useful to read this prior article for background: China’s Coronavirus: A Shocking Update. Did The Virus …”
Followed by: “Just take a few minutes to read one more article. This is so astonishing that it changed many things I used to believe in. Please retweet to let more people know about it. China’s Coronavirus: A Shocking Update. Did The Virus Originate in the US? – Global Research: The Western media quickly laid out the official narrative for the outbreak of COVID-19 which appeared to have begun in China …”
By late afternoon, the South China Morning Post reported that the hashtag topic “Zhao Lijian sent out five consecutive tweets questioning the US” had been viewed more than 4.7 million times on Weibo. Twelve hours later, The New York Times reported it had been viewed more than 160 million times.
Zhao’s Twitter followers have increased from 287,000 to more than 500,000. Media worldwide carried stories about his tweets, putting them in front of millions more readers, most of whom would never have seen them on Twitter or Weibo. Fake virus news had gone viral.
In October, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence noted in the first line of its report on Russia’s use of social media to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, that “information warfare [is] designed to spread disinformation and societal division”. Zhao’s tweets accomplished both. The disinformation was obvious. Critical thinking in abeyance, plenty of people will believe a claim that the U.S. Army planted Covid-19 in Wuhan; even more will want it to be true.
When President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and others began fighting back by loudly and repeatedly calling Covid-19 “the Chinese virus”, social division in the U.S. grew, if that is possible. The media accused Trump of being racist and xenophobic, and inciting more of the same towards Chinese-Americans. This only caused Trump to say it louder and more often.
One wonders how much longer Washington will continue fighting the information war against Beijing with one arm tied behind its back. Chinese media enjoy free run of the U.S., including on Twitter. The U.S. has no such freedom in China.
Not a few pundits in these past few weeks have predicted Covid-19 will end globalisation, or even “life as we know it”. That seems unlikely, given the short-term nature of people’s memories and how profitable “life as we know it” has been for so many. But given the mischief Zhao’s tweets caused, Beijing’s days on Twitter might be numbered.
NEW DELHI – The new COVID-19 coronavirus has spread to more than 100 countries – bringing social disruption, economic damage, sickness, and death – largely because authorities in China, where it emerged, initially suppressed information about it. And yet China is now acting as if its decision not to limit exports of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and medical supplies – of which it is the dominant global supplier – was a principled and generous act worthy of the world’s gratitude.
When the first clinical evidence of a deadly new virus emerged in Wuhan, Chinese authorities failed to warn the public for weeks and harassed, reprimanded, and detained those who did. This approach is no surprise: China has a long history of “killing” the messenger. Its leaders covered up severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), another coronavirus, for over a month after it emerged in 2002, and held the doctor who blew the whistle in military custody for 45 days. SARS ultimately affected
more than 8,000 people in 26 countries.
This time around, the Communist Party of China’s proclivity for secrecy was reinforced by President Xi Jinping’s eagerness to be perceived as an in-control strongman, backed by a fortified CPC. But, as with the SARS epidemic, China’s leaders could keep it under wraps for only so long. Once Wuhan-linked COVID-19 cases were detected in Thailand and South Korea
, they had little choice but to acknowledge the epidemic.
About two weeks after Xi rejected scientists’ recommendation to declare a state of emergency, the government announced heavy-handed containment measures, including putting millions on lockdown. But it was too late: many thousands of Chinese were already infected with COVID-19, and the virus was rapidly spreading internationally. US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien has said
that China’s initial cover-up “probably cost the world community two months to respond,” exacerbating the global outbreak.
Beyond the escalating global health emergency, which has already killed thousands
, the pandemic has disrupted normal trade and travel, forced many school closures, roiled the international financial system, and sunk global stock markets. With oil prices plunging, a global recession appears imminent.
None of this would have happened had China responded quickly to evidence of the deadly new virus by warning the public and implementing containment measures. Indeed, Taiwan and Vietnam have shown the difference a proactive response can make.1
Taiwan, learning from its experience with SARS, instituted
preventive measures, including flight inspections, before China’s leaders had even acknowledged the outbreak. Likewise, Vietnam quickly halted flights from China and closed all schools. Both responses recognized the need for transparency, including updates on the number and location of infections and public advisories on how to guard against COVID-19.
Thanks to their governments’ policies, both Taiwan and Vietnam – which normally receive huge numbers of travelers from China daily – have kept total cases under 50. Neighbors that were slower to implement similar measures, such as Japan and South Korea, have been hit much harder.
If any other country had triggered such a far-reaching, deadly, and above all preventable crisis, it would now be a global pariah. But China, with its tremendous economic clout, has largely escaped censure. Nonetheless, it will take considerable effort for Xi’s regime to restore its standing at home and abroad.
Perhaps that is why China’s leaders are publicly congratulating themselves for not limiting exports of medical supplies and APIs used to make medicines, vitamins, and vaccines. If China decided to ban such exports to the United States, the state-run news agency Xinhua recently noted
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the costs of Xi’s increasing authoritarianism. It should be a wake-up call for political and business leaders who have accepted China’s lengthening shadow over global supply chains for far too long. Only by loosening China’s grip on global supply networks – beginning with the pharmaceutical sector – can the world be kept safe from the country’s political pathologies.
Posted by ASC at 10:14 PM
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Sad but true!
Duterte committed treason
A Call to the Filipino People: The Philippine military should remove him and the Allies should give support to deliver him to the Hague or do away with this traitor.
Dear Filipinos, it is absolutely clear that you cannot rely for protection, support and care from the so-called president of your nation who has a defeatist attitude and inferiority complex, even the so-called senate president aka the National Idiot of the nation, because their loyalty is not to you, the Filipino people but to China. He has been paid off by China.
Hence, as the heirs and grandchildren of your noble warriors and heroes, you have no choice but to rely to your very selves.
You have to unite and stand as one, with the help and solidarity from your military since your congress is weak, all allies, such as Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, the EU and your fellow ASEAN friends. Together as One, United as One — you shall win this fight against the imperialism and bullyism of China.Top government officials such as Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, initially issued stinging statements over the incident.
“In the past several days, Duterte has whined without end about the hopelessness of the Philippines as a nation. His treason is the logical conclusion of this frustration. Duterte is no longer invested in the Philippines, but in China."
“The Philippine national interest, as you know it, is now against his own personal interest and fortune. More than a traitor, Duterte is just a glorified carpetbagger, with loyalties to no one but himself.” Three years after The Hague ruling in favor of Manila, Duterte faces impeachment threat over fishing deal with China.
Duterte has been accused of gambling the Philippines' territorial integrity to 'appease' his newfound ally, China [File: Lean Daval Jr/Reuters]
MORE ON SOUTH CHINA SEA
Mindanao, Philippines - Standing before a few hundred studio audience members and tens of millions more watching from home, then-presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte swore in an April 2016 televised debate that he was willing to die, if only to assert the Philippines' claim in the South China Sea.
"It has long been my desire to become a hero. So, if they kill me, then I would leave it all to you here in the Philippines to mourn for me," Duterte said in Filipino, as he vowed to sail in the high seas on a jet ski to confront China, and plant the Philippine flag in the disputed islands in the Spratlys and Scarborough.
Halfway through his six-year term in office, the folksy charm that propelled Duterte to the presidency has largely remained intact, with him enjoying an 80 percent satisfaction rating. But the swagger he once directed towards China has long fizzled, replaced with professions of love for its leader, Xi Jinping.
As the Philippines on Friday marks the third year anniversary of The Hague arbitral court ruling, which handed Manila a legal victory against Beijing in the South China Sea, Duterte now finds himself being accused by political opponents and critics of turning his back on his country, and gambling the Philippines' territorial integrity to "appease" his newfound ally, China.
Akbayan, an opposition political party, announced on Tuesday that it would join a group of Filipino fishermen and other groups in filing an impeachment complaint against Duterte for his "deliberate and wrongful breach" of the Constitution.
Former Foreign Affairs chief Albert del Rosario also warned that Duterte "can be impeached" for allowing China to fish in the Philippines' exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The EEZ is considered to be part of the Philippines territory, with its resources "exclusively" reserved for Filipinos, according to its constitution.
Filipinos protest against Duterte's new China deals (02:56)
Their comments came after Duterte disclosed for the first time in late June that he and Xi, the president of China, had a "verbal agreement" allowing Chinese fishermen inside the Philippines' EEZ.
Siding with China
Duterte said the deal formed the basis for his decision not to drive away the Chinese fishermen.
A Chinese vessel was later involved in a boat-ramming incident on June 9, which caused the sinking of a fishing boat with 22 Filipino crew who were left struggling to stay alive in the high seas for hours.
The details of the incident remain contested by Filipino and Chinese officials.
But critics accuse Duterte of siding with China, after he downplayed the near-tragedy at sea as an accident, despite reports pointing to a deliberate attack by suspected Chinese militia.
Media revelations that the Chinese boat abandoned the beleaguered Filipino fishermen, in violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, further angered the Philippine public.
Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio chastised Duterte, saying the deal he reached with China was unconstitutional.
Carpio said the president should have asserted its legal rights under the international law following the latest incident within the Philippines' EEZ.
'Trial of the century'
It was on July 12, 2016, that the court of arbitration in The Hague said China had "no legal basis ... to claim historic rights" to resources falling within its "nine-dash line", which encompasses almost all of the 3.6 million sq km sea lane. It also emphasised the Philippines' "sovereign rights" over its 200-nautical mile EEZ.
The case was seen in the Philippines as the "trial of the century", and its outcome was welcomed not just in Manila, but also in other Southeast Asian capitals wary of China's rise and which also have their own claims in the South China Sea.
The court's decision, however, was rejected by China, which had refused to participate in the years-long proceedings. China's official news agency Xinhua hit out at the verdict, describing it as an "ill-founded" ruling that was "naturally null and void".
Abigail Valte, a lawyer who was part of the Philippine delegation at The Hague, told Al Jazeera that the hearing and its result was "a very proud moment" for the country.
"I could see long years of preparation coming to fruition. The entire delegation really prepared to make sure we could present our case well. It was a very proud moment," said Valte, who also served as the spokesman of then-President Benigno Aquino, who filed the case against China.
'So much wasted time'
In a scathing opinion published in a national broadsheet, Valte said that three years after the victory, there is "so much wasted time", because of the Duterte administration's "new-fangled friendship with China".
"It has done nothing to improve the tense situation at sea, where our fishermen continue to be harassed by Chinese maritime militia, same with militarisation of the islands," read the article, which Valte shared with Al Jazeera.
Jay Batongbacal, a lawyer and maritime expert at the University of the Philippines, said that three years on, the "efficacy" of The Hague ruling "has been undermined" because of the actions taken by the Duterte administration.
He said statements made by the president and other officials "condone China's actions that had been declared to be in contravention of its obligations under international law".
Why Philippines is building military base near Taiwan (02:36)
"President Duterte's position, giving blanket permission for Chinese fishing in the Philippines' EEZ, is akin to a waiver of the Philippines' regulatory jurisdiction and of its natural resources to a foreign power," he said.
Still, it would be hard to file an impeachment case against the president, Batongbacal said, adding that the "evidenciary challenges make it difficult to support a charge", as there was no written agreement that can be presented as proof in a trial.
Opposition Senator Franklin Drilon, a frequent Duterte critic, also conceded that proving the president's guilt during an impeachment would be problematic.
"The primary evidence would either be a document signed, or a verbal testimony. There is no document. The verbal testimony is between the President and Xi Jinping. So, tell me, who would be witness to that?" he was quoted by news reports as saying.
"The president will not testify against his own interest in an impeachment proceeding."
Still, the senator called on the Duterte administration to press the Philippines' maritime rights against China, and urged the filing of a case against the Chinese crew involved in the boat-ramming incident, saying non-action could be interpreted as an "acquiescence".
The Philippine public also appears to strongly support the country's legal standing against Beijing. A survey result published on July 10 found that 93 percent of Filipinos found it important for the Duterte administration to regain control of its islands in the South China Sea.
Meanwhile, Jose Antonio Custodio, of the Institute for Policy, Strategy and Development Studies, a Manila-based think-tank, said the Philippines was now considered by its neighbouring countries as an "enabler of China".
"This is can be seen in Manila's refusal to go against Beijing's wishes and in foot dragging in multilateral efforts to address the issue," Custodio said, referring to the proposed South China Sea Code of Conduct deal being negotiated between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Philippines seeks probe into boat sinking by Chinese vessel (02:41)
"The Duterte administration sees China as its insurance against a backlash from the international community once its sordid human rights record is investigated," he added.
"Beijing will provide the protection to Duterte and his administration to weather the international pressure against the Philippines."
As tensions rise in the South China Sea, Custodio noted, that the Philippines' traditional ally, the United States, is now trying "a more aggressive" strategy, including freedom-of-navigation patrols, assistance to allied countries and economic pressure on China.
"The US has made China feel its presence, and if the Philippines refuses to complain, then it is either a fool for not wanting to defend its own territory, or a tool of China by trying to belittle the value of multilateral efforts.
Duterte has long maintained that he will not risk going to war with China, by aggressively pressing Beijing about Manila's territorial claim.
That is, however, a "false choice" intended "to silence criticism and ensure submission to government decision and policy without question", Batongbacal of the University of the Philippines said.
As the controversy continues to brew, Duterte promised to address the Philippines' claim in the South China Sea in his annual address to the nation on July 22.
The president's spokesman, Salvador Panelo, said the Philippines won't be "hasty" in dealing with the disputed areas "but instead will do everything legal and feasible".
"But the reality again, as repeated by the president, they (China) are in possession of the disputed islands," Panelo said.
Posted by ASC at 3:57 PM