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Netizens need mutual respect

Updated: 2016-07-28 07:13
(China Daily)

Netizens need mutual respect

There is no better place to find nationalism rearing its ugly head than in cyberspace, where reasoned debate often gives way to an outpouring of slurs and invective.

Thus it is no surprise that with tempers running high over the South China Sea dispute between China and the Philippines, a war of words has been raging between netizens in the two countries.

Some Chinese have reportedly called for an import ban on products such as bananas and mangoes from the Philippines, while some in the Philippines have used the provocative hashtag "Chexit", a pun on Brexit, on social media networks.

Such outbursts of emotion have not only put in jeopardy the good feelings between the two peoples that have been built up over the centuries, but also risk holding sway over the two countries' leaders in their policymaking, leaving them with little, if any room for diplomatic maneuver.

Yet there has been no historical grudge between the two peoples in their hundreds of years of friendly exchanges.

In fact they have much in common, both countries were victims of colonialism by Western powers, and both were invaded by Japanese militarists during World War II. Both are peace-loving people. Actually the Philippines is a country where ethnic Chinese are not discriminated against and are allowed to prosper through hard work.

Former Philippine president Corazon Aquino, the first female president elected in Asia, always openly appreciated her Chinese origins.

So Sino-Philippine relations should not be defined by the maritime dispute. The mistake made by the administration of former Philippine president Benigno Aquino III should not become a political burden on its new leader Rodrigo Duterte, who has spoken positively about restoring healthy ties with China.

It is time for reason to reign in cyberspace.

--China Daily

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