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Friday, July 26, 2013

History : Was Dr. Jose Rizal Anti-Chinese?

Dr. Jose Rizal - Philippine National Hero
With China's blatant bullying, its incursion and occupation of our islands in the West Philippine Sea, there is a growing anti-Chinese (not Chinese-Filipinos) sentiment prevailing among Filipinos nowadays. But these are not the only reasons for this anti-Chinese feeling. Here are more reasons : their mining companies are destroying our mountains, and polluting our rivers and seas with their irresponsible and negligent mining practices; their quarrying of our beaches of black sands and magnetite has been destroying our beaches, and causing soil erosions in our coastal areas; their financing of big-time drug syndicates and drug manufacturers; their export of chemically-contaminated food products, lead-laced baby products, children toys, cosmetics and other products in the market; their illegal fishing and poaching of endangered animals species in our territories; their growing monopoly of  retail and trading business, and dumping of cheap and low-quality Chinese products undercutting our local products , their partnership with local gangsters to operate illegal businesses; their arrogant and rude manners as tourists, their mushrooming casinos and gaming investments, and more. The Chinese are able to do some of their illegal and nefarious business activities by bribing unscrupulous locals, civil servants and local government officials, immigration and police officers. All of these have contributed to the growing anti-Chinese feeling in the country.

These activities of the present-day overseas Chinese are not unlike that of Rizal's description of the overseas Chinese in the Philippines during his time, as he described it in his novel:"El Filibusterismo".

El Filibusterismo

Download : El Filibusterismo ( English Version )

Some of Rizal's works and writings are said to be bias against and contemptuous of the Chinese. A Rizaliana  article I read convincingly proved that he was indeed anti-Chinese. But the article also rationalized that "his antagonism towards the Chinese was largely a product of the cultural and political situation of his time". I think in the same way, we can also reason out that this present day anti-Chinese sentiment of Filipinos is also a product of : a cultural difference with this new wave of overseas Chinese, a political and military issue with China, and mainly, an economic issue with a country who wants to dominate our region economically through bullying, aggression, intimidation and unscrupulous business practices.

The article  is entitled "Rizal's Chinese Overcoat" written by Mr. Alfonso O. Ang, a Chinese-Filipino, writer and member of the Philippine National Historical Society. The article partly discussed Rizal's Chinese ancestry and lineage. Ironically, despite this fact about his ancestry, the article lengthily proved his being anti-Chinese. It cited many instances of Rizal's contempt for the Chinese and his anti-Chinese behavior through his works and historical records. Proofs of Rizal's anti-Chinese behavior was drawn and concluded from these instances : his description and potrayal of a Chinese character by the name of "Quiroga" in his novel "El Filibusterismo", his dislike of  Chinese merchants and his boycotting of Chinese stores during his exile in Dapitan, his denial of his Chinese ancestry during his trial in Fort Santiago,  his expressed anti-Chinese sentiments in some his letters, and other instances where he showed his contempt for the Chinese. The article also noted that Rizal never mentioned his Chinese lineage in any of his writings.

By the way, the article was written by the author mainly to question the veracity and purpose of a book (about Rizal and his relation with China) published by the Peking University (authored by Chinese and Filipinos) to promote Philippine-China relation.

Perhaps, Dr. Jose Rizal was indeed anti-Chinese during his time because of some significant and personal reasons. Just like how we Filipinos, nowadays, are anti-Chinese because of the reasons mentioned above. But I'm sure that if he were alive today, he would have had the same sentiments like us, and would surely be boycotting "Made in China" products.

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