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Net Ease: China’s Water Cannon Injures Filipino Admiral, Renders Filipino Ship Inoperable

Chinese Internet portal NetEase has published a commentary claiming victory following an incident on March 5 when China’s maritime police used high-pressure water cannons against a Filipino boat, causing injuries to several Filipino crew members and damaging the ship. The Filipino boat was on a resupply mission for Filipino troops stationed at the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, a submerged reef in the South China Sea that is claimed by several countries including China and the Philippines.

The Associated Press reported that the Chinese water cannons shattered the windshield glass of the Filipino boat’s cockpit, resulting in four injuries. The NetEase article bragged that Filipino Admiral Alberto Carlos, who was aboard the resupply boat, was among those injured in the incident, adding that Adm. Carlos is Commander of the Philippines’ West Theater and calling him a “big fish” (i.e. an important person in the Philippines’ military).

From the NetEase article: “The Chinese Coast Guard ship fired a high-pressure water cannon at the supply ship where Carlos was, instantly shattering the glass in the cockpit of the Philippine supply ship. The situation in the Philippine ship’s cabin was chaotic. Four Filipino personnel were bleeding and injured, including Adm. Carlos. Subsequently, Chinese water cannons swept across the superstructure of the Philippine ship, destroying external equipment including communication antennas, causing serious damage to the Philippine ship.”

According to the NetEase article, a U.S. Morpheus-class littoral combat ship was in nearby waters during the incident. “The U.S. ship tried to enter the Second Thomas Shoal to assist the Philippine ship. However, not far from the Littoral Combat Ship, a PLA Navy warship and a carrier-based helicopter were on patrol, and so the U.S. ship dared not to act rashly.” The article also commented that, although the U.S. has signed a Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines, the Biden administration dared not take real actions to help the Philippines; it only offered lip service.

There have been several previous incidents involving clashes between the Chinese Coast Guard and the Philippine military, including another incident with a water cannon in August 2023 and an incident in February 2023 when the Chinese maritime police used a laser against a Philippine boat, temporarily blinding one Philippine soldier.

It is not clear whether the NetEase article is just an individually-authored piece or if it was written at the behest of orders from the CCP. The article appears to be written by an individual journalist, but the Chinese Communist Party has a long-standing practice of writing articles and then letting its fans (members of the “fifty-cent” party) publish the articles in their name, packaging the articles as “public opinion.”


NetEase, March 9, 2024

Associated Press, March 6, 2024