Manila, Philippines – ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC), the news channel arm of PH media conglomerate ABS-CBN, has announced that it is canceling its partnership with Chinatown News TV, a Filipino-owned media news channel broadcast in Chinese and made by the Filipino-Chinese community in the country. This was shortly after the parties announced the tie-up.
The cancellation comes after the network received backlash from the online community, pointing to the irony of establishing a Chinese broadcast in the news channel despite growing tensions between the Philippines and China regarding vessels of the latter that are currently lingering and taking space in the disputed West Philippine Sea.
ABS-CBN has recently covered the West Philippine Sea issue with one of its journalists, Chiara Zambrano, visiting the highly-contested area along with the ABS-CBN team before being chased down by the Chinese Coast Guard.
Ging Reyes, news chief at ABS-CBN, initially defended the partnership, stating that ABS-CBN had editorial control over their content, providing national news stories and ensuring accuracy of the translation from Mandarin to English subtitles.
“ABS-CBN News has vigorously covered these issues, in our pursuit of truth and public enlightenment. But we resist discrimination against any race. or ethnicity. The airing on ANC of Chinatown News should not be equated with the intrusions in the West PH Sea. Chinatown News is produced by fellow Filipinos who belong to the Filipino-Chinese community. They are part of Philippine society,” Reyes said in her Twitter thread.
Despite the defense, many netizens have opposed the partnership.
The Philippine arm of online democratic solidarity movement Milk Tea Alliance stated that Chinatown News TV is also responsible for the controversial music video ‘Iisang Dagat’ (‘One Sea’) co-produced with the Chinese Embassy to the Philippines, as well as spreading media lies about the persecution of Uyghur Muslim minorities in Mainland China.
TV writer and producer Erwin Aurella tweeted that a ‘Chinese propaganda’ video disguised as a ‘Chinese news program’ doesn’t speak to ABS-CBN’s motto of ‘In The Service of the Filipino People’.
In line with the partnership, netizens took to Twitter and mocked the station using the hashtag #ABSCBNTutaNgChina, alluding to the network being a ‘puppy’ of Chinese propaganda.
Controversially, Chinatown News TV also aimed to promote the ‘One Belt, One Road’, a global infrastructure development strategy by the Chinese Communist Party, the sole governing party of the People’s Republic of China.