China accuses Simularity of ‘demonizing’ Beijing in waste-dumping report
MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese embassy in Manila slammed a US-based firm for “demonizing” China with reports of waste dumps by Chinese ships in parts of the West Philippine Sea.
“The Chinese Embassy strongly condemns the said company’s act of fabricating facts, violating professional ethics, and maliciously spreading fake news against China,” the embassy said in a statement.
“Their ultimate goal is to sow discord between China and the Philippines so as to serve their own political agenda,” it added.
Earlier, US geospatial firm Simularity reported that Chinese ships anchored in parts of the West Philippines Sea are dumping “raw sewage, every day onto the reefs they are occupying.”
“When the ships don’t move, the poop piles up,” Liz Derr, co-founder and CEO of Simularity, said during Monday’s forum hosted by Stratbase ADR Institute on the fifth anniversary of the Philippines’ 2016 victory against China.
But the embassy accused the firm of being among “anti-China forces” which have “spared no efforts to produce lies and hype up the South China Sea issue to discredit and demonize China, create hatred and anti-China sentiments in the Philippines.”
“These anti-China forces have formed a complete set of routines. Some foreign organizations issue a fabricated report, and then some irresponsible media follow up to spread fake news,” it added.
“Finally, some anti-China forces use fake news to accuse and defame China,” the embassy further said.
The embassy then said it was willing to work with countries along the coast of the South China Sea, including the Philippines, to “eliminate interference and jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.”
“The Chinese Embassy believes that a lie told a thousand times is still a lie. Any rational person will see through the tricks,” it added.
In an online forum on Wednesday, Derr said the firm’s findings were based on satellite imagery and the analysis they conducted in the area.
Nevertheless, she admitted regretting using the wrong photo in their report.
When it first released its report, Simularity used a photo of a ship that appeared to be dumping effluents into the ocean. But the image was of a vessel involved in dredging in a part of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in 2014.
However, Simularity never claimed that the ship was dumping sewage or that it was among the Chinese vessels mentioned in the report.
The image was meant to “provide context that illustrates the common sewage dumping practice of ships,” the firm said in an earlier statement.
“At this point I regret putting that image in there because it made it easy for some government officials to say, ‘Oh fake news,’ when our analysis was not based on that image at all,” Derr told Wednesday’s forum.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.