Growing tensions between China and the Philippines

Naval maneuvers back and forth across the South China Sea, anti-China demonstrations in Manila and a wave of cyber-attacks on official web sites in the Philippines. Tensions have been growing between China and the Philippines over the past few weeks.

The conflict is over the Scarborough Shoal, also known as Huangyan Island in Chinese, both countries lay claim to these rich fishing grounds which also contain high deposits of hydrocarbon resources. Zhang Fan, a journalist for a Shanghai based television channel, recently planted the Chinese flag on the group of rocks. The video was widely relayed online, sparking an escalation of nationalistic fervor on the Chinese web.

Businessman Yu Jinyong has over one million followers on social network Sina Weibo; he said in a post last week that he had fired two of his housekeepers who came from the Philippines. Many web users have been backing his decision, although some feel it was unfair.

And with China celebrating Mother’s day last Sunday, one web user uploaded this video which has since been doing the rounds on the local web: a sand drawing depicting China as the parent state of the disputed islands.

And finally, companies have been trying to benefit from this wave of nationalism. One shower gel brand is handing out gifts to web users that send in photos of themselves claiming sovereignty over the group of small islands.

And a group buying website has launched a competition to win a trip to the islands. Thousands of web users have entered, but the trip may well end being cancelled for safety reasons.