Even pronounced nation like China passes through turbulent times. In 2012, it experienced a severe shortage of human tetanus vaccinations when many medicine trade companies cease to produce said medicines after seeing that it is no longer profitable. China was alarmed over the spread of tetanus among its citizen. Great nation as it claims to be, today, China is undeniably conducting a creeping incursion in our territorial waters. But did you know that Mindoro could have already been invaded by the Chinese as early as the 13th century? I cannot imagine how life would feel like if it turned that way.
According to Wikipedia, “The first semblance of a political system in Mindoro's experience was provided by China in the 13th century”. The Chinese tried to annex Mindoro but the plan was abandoned when an internal trouble in the Chinese home front ensued. An ancient Chinese explorer named Cheng Ho gained a page in Mindoro history as we have seen. Cheng Ho or Zhen He (1371–1433 or 1435) was a Hui court eunuch and fleet admiral during China's early Ming Dynasty.
In the 13th century, unlike today, there was that strict traditional Chinese isolationist policy. Cheng Ho recalled the armada going to Mindoro and other parts of the archipelago because of this rule. In 1500, it was capital offense to build big ships with the purpose of using it going to foreign soils. Chinese coastal officials in 1525 destroyed all such ships while that time Ferdinand Magellan and other Europeans reached Asian waters. As Portugal, Britain, France and Spain and other European countries dominated global waters, China padlocked her ports and destroyed her gigantic ships.
Contraction, not expansion, was China’s order of the day in the 14th century. Not anymore as the present headlines suggest.
China then was superior compared to other country in the West when it comes to technology, living standards and global influence. But the country became enveloped in a smug self-sufficiency, cultural and economic inwardness, a closed and centralized political system, and an anti-commercial culture. China believes that they do no lack anything in many aspects like that of economy, politics and culture so she closed its door to the rest of the world. It was during the 14th and 15th century. Not anymore as the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea row now suggest.
The recent case filed by Manila against Beijing before the United Nation-backed arbitral tribunal at The Hague, Netherlands, according to Supreme Court Senior Justice Antonio Carpio who is part of the Philippine delegation to the tribunal said that the case, “[It] could take maybe ten years,” and reminded us that, “We should steel ourselves that this will be a long struggle.” But if by chance the Philippines win its case at the tribunal, there is no UN body to enforce the ruling. So, in essence, the decision of the tribunal would not mean much.
Meanwhile, a ship called BRP Sierra Madre, a military outpost cum navy ship is holding its position in the disputed waters. The World War II vintage ship, even if it is already covered with rusts stays as symbol of our sovereignty.
It could be a potent armament too against the Chinese, in case they run short of anti-tetanus vaccines again…