Tension between China and the Philippines over the disputed waters of the Scarborough Shoal or Huangyan Island has been elevated, with the state-controlled Chinese media reporting that China can no longer tolerate the presence of Philippines naval ships in the South China Sea.
The China Daily commentary on May 8, 2012, highlighted [zh] in its headline that China “could not tolerate the intolerable” regarding the Scarborough Shoal dispute and it revealed that the Chinese government's diplomatic strategy would be a demonstration of sovereignty in the South China Sea.
Nationalist Chinese media outlet Global Times's editorial on May 9, stated that [zh] “it would be a miracle if the confrontation would not end up in military conflicts”.
Local newspapers also reported that Chinese naval ships have expelled [zh] Philippine fishermen from the Shoal. The nationalist commentaries come in reaction to a Philippine military expert's claim [zh] that China would not resort to military means to solve either the Scarborough Shoal dispute or domestically, Chinese online nationalism.
The latest sovereignty performance came with the erection of a Chinese flag on the main reef of the Scarborough Shoal by a Dongfan Star television reporter:
Chinese social media is flooded with nationalist sentiment when the word “黃岩島” (Huangyan Island) is searched for, and the mainstream media have added oil to the flame. Below is a selection of some typical Weibo comments on the issue:
A media worker's reflection
Media worker in Guangzhou, Su Shaoxin [zh], is critical of the media flaming of the popular nationalistic sentiment: