Chinese ‘Pirates’ Attack Philippine Boats in South China Sea

The Chinese Coast Guard wielded axes, long knives and spears to slash and puncture Philippine military boats during a collision in the South China Sea on June 20.

  • A Chinese boat rammed a Philippine boat at high speed, causing a Filipino seafarer who was holding onto the side to lose his thumb.
  • Video footage shows Chinese officers intimidating with an ax and other blades, as well as slashing a Philippine rubber boat with a knife.
  • The Chinese Coast Guard boarded a Philippine boat, smashed its motor and communications equipment, and took away seven disassembled rifles that were packed for delivery to a Philippine outpost.

Only pirates do this. Only pirates board, steal and destroy ships, equipment and belongings.
—Gen. Romeo Braner Jr., Philippine military chief of staff

Disputed waters: In recent months, the Chinese have repeatedly targeted Philippine military personnel in the disputed Second Thomas Shoal. International law designates the area as part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, but China claims almost the entire South China Sea as its own.

One third of global shipping passes through the South China Sea, making it a vital region for maritime trade.

China emboldened: Due to the rising tensions, the United States recently renewed its pledge to defend the Philippines, a treaty ally, against Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.

However, the U.S. has shown itself to be an increasingly unreliable ally that takes little to no action. Meanwhile, China continues to test the waters to see what it can get away with.

Learn more: Read “China Is Steering the World Toward War.”