By GLORIA JANE BAYLON
Philippine News Agency
THE controversial Chinaman and Hong Kong multimedia writer Chip Tsao has apologized on television, admitting that he “had crossed the line” in his attempt to satirize Philippine-China claims over the disputed Spratlys in the South China Sea.
“I realized that I had crossed the line …I now offer my public apology,” Tsao said in an interview over Hong Kong’s ATV television network on Tuesday evening.
This was relayed to the Philippines News Agency (PNA) by Assistant Secretary Ed Malaya, spokesperson of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), who said the program was monitored by the Philippine consulate-general (PCG) in Hong Kong. No other details of Tsao’s interview were made available.
Tsao’s personal TV apology followed that of his publisher’s who, on Monday, apologized “unreservedly” and acknowledged that Tsao’s March 27 column calling the Philippines “a nation of servants” was “politically incorrect.”
Tsao belittled the Filipinos’ capability to wage a dispute with China, satirizing it as practically a David vs. Goliath confrontation.
Amid the controversy, Beijing’s political officer in Manila made it clear Philippine-China relations cannot be held back by the verbal scuffle.
Diplomat Li Yongsheng stressed that “everyone knows that the Chinese government and Chinese people have good feelings towards the Philippines and its people” and that Tsao is just by himself.
“We are on the way to stepping up our bilateral relations,” the diplomat stressed.
Much earlier, China’s new envoy to Manila, Liu Jianchao, emphasized that the Spratlys claims can be settled peacefully and amicably through diplomatic instruments, mainly by the “ASEAN Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea.”
The PCG in HK, taking the cue from various sectors of Philippine society, led the campaign for Tsao’s own apology and recantations of his condescending views of Filipinos.
It has also demanded that the apologies of the HK-based Asia City Publishing Group be published and featured prominently.
Philippine Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libmanan had already marked Tsao as an undesirable alien and will not allow his entry to the Philippines. As of press time, it is not clear if Libmanan would recall his decision now that Tsao has apologized.
In its apology addressed to the PCG, the publisher said “many people have read meanings into the column that were never actually intended…” and wish to apologize unreservedly for any offense that may have been caused by the column.
“HK Magazine has long championed the rights of Filipinos working in Hong Kong. We note that Filipinos have often been unfairly treated in Hong Kong, and that they make an important contribution to this community.
“We wish to assure our readers that we have nothing but respect for Filipinos, both living in Hong Kong and abroad.”