I AM glad seeing militants led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) hold a rally against China’s expansionist moves in the South China Sea and celebrating the ruling of the United Nations (UN) Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands shooting down China’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea. I know the difficult balancing act of the Left on the issue considering its focus on United States imperialism. It does not want the US to benefit from the protest actions that would be launched against China.

While the Left adheres to the ideology of Marxism, Leninism and Maoism, it no longer considers the Communist Party of China (CPC) as revolutionary unlike in the past. And China is not considered as socialist but capitalist. The Left sees China now the way the CPC saw the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics decades ago: as “social-imperialist.” By the way, the term “social-imperialism” has surfaced in the internet via a quote from the late Deng Xiaoping.

Deng succeeded Mao Zedong as the CPC’s major ideologue and presided over the restoration of capitalism in China, transforming it from a backward country to a major global power. The quote was from a speech delivered by Deng at the special session of the UN General Assembly on April 10, 1974. Yes, that was eons ago. Here’s the quote:

“If one day China should change her color and turn into a superpower, if she too should play the tyrant in the world, and everywhere subject others to her bullying, aggression and exploitation, the people of the world should identify her as social-imperialism, expose it, oppose it and work together with the Chinese people to overthrow it.”

In 1974, China still considered itself as a Third World country at the mercy of the two superpowers, the USSR and the US. The Cold War was still on, with the USSR styling itself as leader of the socialist-communist world and the US claiming to represent the “free” (translation: capitalist) world. Deng described both superpowers as hegemonic.

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I don’t know why, but some Filipinos always like to bash their own country every time they talks about the South China Sea row. They are doing it again, flooding both the traditional and social media with their anti-Philippines views after the country won its case at the arbitration tribunal. Instead of finding something positive from the ruling, they grab the negative.

Indeed, the Philippines is a “third world” country with a defense capability that could not compare with that of China. But that does not mean we do not stand up to the bullying by China and assert our claim to a part of the South China Sea that we now call West Philippine Sea. We Cebuanos have a saying for that: ang mga hulmigas gani bisan sa ilang kagamay mamahit man kun imong tumban. That Philippines is small does not mean we have to be servile to China.

While we, because of our puny defense capability, may not be able to fully assert our claim over South China Sea areas that the tribunal said we have sovereign rights to, the ruling places us on a high moral ground on the issue. Many countries in the world now see us on the “right” side and China on the “wrong” side. If we eventually engage China in bilateral talks to settle the dispute or at least calm the situation, Philippine representatives will already have, in the tribunal ruling, a weapon to brandish. That’s why we should not belittle the import of the ruling.

(khanwens@gmail.com/ twitter: @khanwens)