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Hatred toward Filipinos ‘smacks of racism’ — HK daily

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A newspaper in Hong Kong on Wednesday sought to ease the reported resentment felt by Chinese nationals toward Filipinos in light of the deadly hostage crisis in Manila that left eight tourists from China’s special administrative region dead.

In its editorial Wednesday, the South China Morning Post said Filipinos are the “wrong targets" of the collective anger although it described the police force that handled Monday’s hostage situation as “incompetent."

“The actions of a unit of police commandos were not [the Filipinos’] doing. Tarring them with the same brush of incompetence isn’t right," the editorial read, adding that venting anger toward Filipinos “smacks of racism."

The editorial also scored the Hong Kong government’s response to the tragedy after placing the Philippines on its travel blacklist. “It has issued its highest travel alert for those thinking of going to the Philippines. Based on a single isolated incident, it has determined that a severe threat exists and that all travel should be avoided," it said.

This page requires a higher version browser The editorial explained that the only other countries on the alert list – Indonesia, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia and Thailand – are ranked two levels lower, with travelers advised to “exercise caution." The Security Bureau of Hong Kong issued a travel warning on Monday, discouraging all travel to the Philippines by its citizens. Just an hour after the hostage-taking ended, the Philippines’ status was changed by Hong Kong from an “amber alert warning" to a “black alert warning," indicating severe threats to the country’s security. “Travel bans are for safety, not political retribution," the SCMP editorial stated. It likewise faulted protesters in Hong Kong who rallied outside the Philippine Consulate General there for the “abuse" hurled against Philippine President Benigno Aquino III in blog postings and placards. The editorial cited a placard that read “Cold-blooded Aquino – Go to hell." “Statements like this are not rational or reasonable. All they do is stir needless hatred," it said. The newspaper, which has a daily circulation of over 100,000, urged Chinese nationals not to place blame for the hostage drama to Filipinos, which it described as “innocent bystanders" to the tragedy. “The 150,000 Filipinos who live among us in Hong Kong and the untold millions in the Philippines who rely on our business and tourism dollars cannot provide what we want to know. They are as much innocent bystanders to the tragedy as we are and deserve to be treated as such," the editorial said. - KBK, pale

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