“It’s normal for Filipino people to have some different views about China, but what I want to emphasize is that after my arrival here since late last year, I have been surprised many times by those distorted media coverage and those reports which do not give the whole picture of China and China-Philippine relations.”
This was Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian’s statement on the issue of Filipino distrust to the Chinese-Philippine relations, putting the blame on “distorted media coverage” over their country.
He did acknowledge concerns on maritime issues, which have been the main point of disagreement by the two states, he told CNN Philippines’ The Source
A poll done by the Social Weather Stations in July showed a “bad” -36 trust rating towards China, against a +42 rating towards the United States and +27 for Australia.
The SWS survey showed three out of five Filipinos believed that China held back information on COVID-19, which may have hampered prevention and treatment efforts worldwide.
Huang said the survey results was due to a lack of understanding and the influence of West media.
“I’ve been thinking about this. One is because of a lack of understanding, and lack of understanding leads to lack of confidence and lack of trust,” the foreign envoy said.
“I have also found with concern that most of our Filipino friends, they understand China through the perspective of West media. Obviously, some of the West media have bias about China so that caused a misleading role to Filipinos who try to understand China,” he added.
He then cited efforts to improve people’s impressions towards China, citing millions of Chinese tourists visiting the country and the promotion of cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
President Rodrigo Duterte has since built a friendly relationship towards the Chinese government at the start of his administration.