The world have heard it plenty of times and only recently the fiery dragon once again roared in a deafening sound, sending a message to all nations that the once tamed dragon is dead serious to confront of what it says agitators of its political independence and self determination. China a.k.a. the dragon was incensed after the Norwegian Nobel Committee collectively had chosen Liu Xiaobo, one of the peace activists critical of China’s one party system as 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
The “roaring dragon’s” bellicosity reverberated across the globe, prompting nations with diplomatic ties to China, including the Philippines, to snub the Nobel awarding ceremony in the land of King Theodoric the Osthrogoth in Oslo, Norway. Other nations, headed by Uncle Sam’s US of A, ignored the rhetoric of the “roaring dragon” which irked the latter more and called them “clowns” for making too much ado about Xiaobo and the Nobel Peace award.
As a result, the Nobel Peace award ceremony caused a divided stand among allies making it easy for China to win support from among the close allies of the US, which includes the Philippines, to snub the yearly Nobel “ritual.” The non participation of the Philippines were said to be a diplomatic concession to soften China in giving reprieve to Filipinos sentenced to death for drug trafficking.
There are more than one hundred Filipinos jailed in China and a number of them were already handed the death sentence for violating Chinas’ strict law on illegal drugs. Worst, these Filipino nationals were paid to act as drug mules or couriers for drug syndicates based in Africa and South America in exchange for a few thousand dollars.
This incidence involving Filipinos are alarming and it seems that not only in China where Filipinos are being caught but also in other parts of South East Asia particularly Malaysia. It was middle of last year when I saw on a TV news report of a Malaysian news channel detailing on how Malaysian authorities caught a young and pregnant Filipino woman in possession of illegal drugs.
The woman came from South America and disembarked in Kuala Lumpur International Airport for a brief stopover for another flight to China where the said illegal drugs will be delivered. In just a few weeks, the same news program reported that another Filipino woman was taken into custody for the same offense of being a drug courier. Unfortunately for the two women, Malaysia is one the countries that have a severe and strict laws on illegal drugs.
The plethora of reasons seems too close to ponder on why this is happening to a number of Filipino nationals. For one, it was said that they are the unwilling victims of drug syndicates. On the other hand, the color of dollars made them so and the opportunity to travel from one country to another. Others, well of course, employment to support their family in the Philippines. In spite of the reasons given, they practically knew that they will end up in jail and suffer the fate of a criminal once nabbed by the authorities.
In this situation, the Philippines could do nothing but to make a practical decision-though unwise in some aspect-to give assistance to its own nationals awaiting execution in China. For having done so, the Philippines’ diplomatic stance was tested and would somehow influence the legal debacle of its nationals to overturn the death sentence and hand them down long years in jail instead.
But it depends on the attitude of China to reciprocate the action taken by its neighbor. For the Philippines, skipping this year’s Nobel “ritual” is less damaging to the nationalistic pride of the country. Kowtowing to the wishes of China is more than enough to appease the “roaring dragon” and to put above all the protection and redemption of its own nationals and deliver them from the maximum penalty of death.