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Monday, April 15, 2013

Rants : Chinese Ambassador Apologizes for Chinese Embassy First Secretary's Blunder

H.E. Ambassador Ma Keqing of China
Having lived and worked in China in the early '90s, I have a very good impression of the Chinese people. The Chinese I had met during my stay there were very humble, hospitable and happy people. I think these good qualities are inherent of the Chinese people and its culture.

But recently, the news I have been reading about Chinese expatriates give a different picture of their character and behavior. Did I get a wrong impression about the Chinese people during my stay in China? Or did they have a reversal of values because of the prosperity and wealth they have now.

Last year, there was a news about a Chinese expatriate driving a Ferrari that drove thru a red light signal in Singapore causing his death and the death of a Singaporean cab driver and a Japanese passenger. The Chinese national involved in the accident was not an ordinary laborer but a financial adviser, which means that he was a highly educated person. The accident created a backlash on mainland Chinese expatriates living in Singapore. The Chinese embassy's "first secretary" in Singapore had to apologize on behalf of the mainland Chinese expatriates' behavior.

Two weeks ago, another road accident happened involving a mainland Chinese expatriate, this time in Manila. A Chinese diplomat by the name of Wang Ben bumped the car in front of him. The car he rear-ended happened to be the car of the MMDA(Metro Manila Development Authority) Chairman Francis Tolentino. According to report, "Wang, who appeared to be drunk, showed a photocopy of his ID and then suddenly drove off in the middle of their exchange, Tolentino said"[1]. Chairman Tolentino gave chase but lost him. It was a good thing that nobody got hurt when the Chinese diplomat drove and sped off, it would have been another big diplomatic problem between the Philippines and China.

The Chinese diplomat involved in the accident was the Chinese embassy's first secretary. A few days after the incident, the Chinese ambassador apologized to the MMDA Chairman for the incident. The irony of  the matter is that the Chinese embassy's first secretary would normally be the one apologizing on behalf of misbehaving Chinese citizens in a host country, like what happened in Singapore last year. But this time it was the Chinese ambassador H.E. Ma Keqing herself, apologizing on behalf of the Chinese embassy's "first secretary".

Why couldn't the Chinese embassy's first secretary Wang Ben apologize by himself to MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino? Why the need for the Chinese ambassador to apologize for Mr.Wang's traffic violations and his disrespect of a Philippine government official? As a diplomat, he is covered by diplomatic immunity and won't be penalized, so why the fear of owning up his blunder? Anyway, the humble gesture by the Chinese ambassador was accepted and very much appreciated by MMDA Chairman for him to forgive and forget the incident.

I wish diplomats like Mr. Wang Ben be transferred to Afghanistan for posting.
I am sure China does not tolerate abusive behavior from its diplomats abroad, specially from a high ranking officer like an embassy's "first secretary".

I hope my good impression of the Chinese people remains a good one.

Picture source and related link :
Click link below to know about H.E. Ambassador Ma Keqing of China : [1]

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