South China Sea: Chinese social media urges mango boycott

Philippine mangoes, considered by some to be the best in the world, have emerged as the latest victim of the South China Sea ruling.

After an international tribunal on territorial disputes ruled against China and in favour of the Philippines, Chinese netizens used social media to call for a boycott of the Philippine fruit, as well as to make their feelings known through other memes and pictures.

Slogans like "If you want to eat mango, buy Thailand's" and "Starve the Filipinos to death" have been widely circulated on microblogging site Weibo.

"If you love China, don't buy Filipino imports", said one comment.

"I will eat Guangxi dried mango, drink Yunnan coffee and eat durian from Hainan. Anyway the point is, I'm making sure my money stays in China," another comment said.

Even some vendors on Taobao, China's largest e-shopping platform, pledged to boycott the Filipino snack.

"Our online shop will not sell Cebu mango from the Philippines and will not sell any snacks imported from the country anymore", a Shanghai-based vendor on Taobao told state media outlet Global Times.

'Won't accept, won't participate, won't recognise'

The topics #SouthChinaSeaResult and #ChinaDoesn'tCareAboutYou have been among the top 10 trending topics on Weibo since the ruling.

This picture, shared more than 400,000 times on Weibo, reportedly originated from state media outlet People's Daily.

Repeating the government's official line on the tribunal, it says: "Won't accept, won't participate, won't recognise."

The 50,000 comments on the picture were largely positive, with users voicing their support for the Chinese government actions, leaving critical comments about the Philippines and its people.

Chinese media is heavily controlled and censored, which goes some way to explaining the noticeable lack of negative comments directed towards the Chinese government.

"No matter what the ruling is, we'll be behind you China," reads one comment.

"Philippines, stop humiliating yourself," says another.

Goddess of mercy

Another trend was pictures of Guanyin, the Chinese goddess of mercy who is synonymous with peace and compassion.

The words in this picture read: "I heard someone is fighting with me for the South China Sea?"

China has always said its intentions in the South China Sea are peaceful, and has accused other countries, including the Philippines, of risking conflict by resisting what Beijing sees as its rightful claims.

China has said it will ignore the tribunal ruling.


Plenty of fish in the sea

Another widely shared image was this cartoon of a girl holding a fish in her hand.

The first picture of what appears to be a slightly confusing metaphor reads: "Do you see this fish from the South China Sea?"

It then follows up with: "I'd rather throw it away than give it to you."


Nine-line dash

The phrase on this Weibo meme is a play on a Chinese idiom meaning to "leave none behind".

In this case, the phrase reads "Not even a bit can be left behind". The word for "bit" in Chinese is also the same word as "dash", a reference to the infamous nine-dash line which China says defines its historic claims in the region. The tribunal disagreed with that assertion.

What is the nine-dash line?

'Don't be such a Philippine'

The word Philippines is used as a verb in this image, with the caption reading: "I urge you not to be too Philippines."

What it means to "be Philippines" is up to the user to decide.



Filipino social media users, however, were not without their say.

"Chexit" - a combination of the words "China" and "Exit" and a play on the recent"Brexit" vote in the UK - became a top five Twitter trend in the Philippines.

The image above quickly went viral on social media, with users commenting that the result of the tribunal should be honoured and China should scale down or end its activities in the South China Sea.