By Rodel Rodis
China’s Public Enemy # 1 is no longer exiled human rights activist Chen Guancheng but Loida Nicolas-Lewis, the New York-based national chair of the US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG).
After Lewis held a press conference in Manila on July 14 to announce the worldwide campaign to “Boycott Made in China Products”, China’s government-controlled media fired back with a newscast calling on the Chinese people to boycott a chain of convenience stores in China believed to be owned by Lewis.
According to the English language translation of the nationwide newscast (http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=p-OuQ5BnzTo), “Chinese are not happy with one particular Filipino. The mastermind behind calling on Filipinos throughout the world to carry out large-scale anti-China demonstrations was revealed to be Filipino-American Loida Nicolas-Lewis, Chairman and CEO of TLC Beatrice (China), Limited, a Cayman company that operates retail convenience stores in four Chinese cities: Xiamen, Chengdu, Suzhou and Guangzhou. Chinese netizens were shocked by this news and urged a boycott on her businesses in China.”
Unfortunately for Lewis’ former Chinese business partners who bought out Lewis’ ownership interest in the “Beatrice” stores several years ago, the China authorities are boycotting a wholly-owned Chinese business.
In her July 14 press conference in Manila, Lewis explained that her group’s call for the global boycott of all kinds of China-made products was a way of matching China’s diplomatic and military arrogance in claiming ownership of the Scarborough Shoal and the Kalayaan Group of Islands in the West Philippine Sea. While the Scarborough Shoal is located more than 550 nautical miles from the nearest China port of Hainan, about 124 nautical miles from the Philippines, within the country’s 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone under the United Nations Convention
“The ‘Boycott Made in China Goods’ campaign will not be limited to Filipinos as it will be carried out globally to encourage all the people of the world to join,” Lewis said. “We will join with those boycotting China-made fake pharmaceutical products and baby formula food laced with melamine,” she added.
Ted Laguatan, USP4GG spokesman, said in the same press conference that he expects the campaign to go viral. “We hope to achieve the level of response and outrage that was generated when the Americans found out that the US Olympic team’s uniforms for the London 2012 Olympics were made in China,” Laguatan said.
At the press conference, Lewis also announced that her US Pinoys group will initiate the Global Day of Prayer for Peace in the Scarborough Shoal on August 21, the 29th anniversary of the martyrdom of Ninoy Aquino.
On August 21, 2011, USP4GG sponsored a Day of Prayer for Peace in the Spratlys which was held in 175 cities throughout North America. “This year the global target is 300 cities,” said Charito Benipayo, coordinator of the 2011 Northern California prayer campaign that was held in 20 cities in Northern California.
Information about the August 21 Global Day of Prayer can be obtained from uspgg.org.
“China has overwhelming military superiority with 63 submarines, 25 destroyers and one aircraft carrier while the Philippines has none of those. Faith and prayer are the weapons we Filipinos have against China,” Lewis declared.
China’s hyperbolic media attack on Loida Nicolas-Lewis reveals a deep concern about the possible disastrous effect of a consumer boycott on China’s economy. It may be the Filipinos most effective weapon.