You wouldn’t think that a radio station named the patriotic Radyo Pilipinas would air pro-China propaganda, but according to quite a few netizens, that’s exactly what’s happening. Yesterday, the phrase ‘Wow China’ trended on social media after people discovered that the government-run AM radio station Radyo Pilipinas has a pro-China segment called Wow China. Folks were not pleased, to say the least. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Wow China?
“Wow China” is the fruit of collaboration between China Radio International (a state-owned Chinese broadcaster based in Beijing) and Radyo Pilipinas, which operates under the Philippine Communications Group. The show aims to promote Chinese culture and help Filipinos “get to know their Chinese brothers”. And while there’s nothing wrong with learning about other cultures, it’s not hard to see why the show’s very existence has rubbed the majority of the Filipino internet the wrong way.
Wow China’s official Facebook page has been up since December 2019, but it was only yesterday that most Filipinos became aware of the show, after a two-week-old Facebook post from Radyo Pilipinas went viral for all the wrong reasons.
Is this Chinese propaganda?
Some netizens are calling the show a platform for Chinese propaganda. Now that might seem like a strong word to some, but sometimes you just gotta call a spade a spade.
Also, Wow China brands itself as a “culture-feature” program, na “magaang usapan lang” about Fil-Chi traditions. But one episode in Dec. 2019 talked about HK protests injected w/ v anti-democracy rhetoric.
P R O P A G A N D A https://t.co/AGBAtwKJAL
— Portia Ladrido (@portiamazing) May 12, 2020
Salt on a wound
You don’t need to be a PR expert to see that airing a pro-China segment on a government radio station is bound to piss people off. See: the controversy in the West Philippine Sea and China’s Nine-Dash Line; POGOs; the COVID-19 pandemic, etc.
ON THE WOW CHINA ISSUE: We need to work with our neighbors who have the same sentiments as we do. South East Asia is not owned by China! #MilkTeaAlliance
Tagging @MrFrankBaraan @EstelleSelfie @MalacananEvents @chadrhic @ABSCBNNews @Richeydarian @ pic.twitter.com/144cYf3iQm
— Auntie Veerus ❤💙💚💯🇵🇭 (@Jihanology_II) May 12, 2020
Meanwhile at ABS-CBN…
Some compared the situation to ABS-CBN’s recent shutdown, saying that the refusal to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise while promoting China just goes to show where the government’s loyalties lie.
What? Philippine Broadcasting Service is now has a Chinese segment entitled “Wow China”
ABS CBN was shut down and Radyo Pilipinas is now promoting a foreign show.
It shows a lack of patriotism👎 pic.twitter.com/YDyNb075Mh
— jayson (@jysnpchc) May 11, 2020
Is this a good way to spend our taxes?
If “Wow China” had been aired on a private station, it definitely wouldn’t have drawn as much flak as it did. What most people seem to be taking issue with is that this pro-China show is using Filipino resources (i.e. our taxes).
WOW NA WOW | WOW CHINA is being aired on state-run Radyo Pilipinas that promotes Chinese culture and history. This is where your taxes go. 🤡 pic.twitter.com/EqfNYyeb1A
— Korte Supremo 👨🏻⚖️ (@KorteSupremo_) May 11, 2020
So, today I learned that Radyo Pilipinas, a government owned AM radio station, has a program called Wow China, a collaboration between the Philippine Broadcasting Service and China Radio International, which airs pro-China propaganda, paid for by Filipino taxes. Nice, no?
— roy ayers – i am your mind pt. 2 (@spicytokwa) May 11, 2020
This isn’t the first time
Back in 2018, the PCOO defended the planned airing of Tagalog-dubbed Chinese shows and movies over PTV, a state-run television network PTV. Then-Communications Secretary Martin Andanar pointed that PTV had also aired Koreanovelas and Japanese content, so the public shouldn’t have a problem with Chinese content being aired on the PTV.
People are taking action
To make their sentiments heard by the powers-that-be, netizens have been calling on each other to leave negative reviews, comments, and/or report the page.
Everyone. If you’re angered by the airing of Wow China, go to Radyo Pilipinas and leave a negative review. Bring the ratings down. You can also go to the original Wow China post and report it as terrorism. Or Fake News. Or Harrassment. Anything. Just report it. pic.twitter.com/oihLDBWwk8
— Kristine Dominique (@krsttdominique) May 11, 2020
And it looks like people have been doing that in droves.
See it for yourself
As of this writing, the viral Facebook post has over 19,000 reactions — 18,000 of which are “angry” reactions. There are over 9,000 comments, most of which read like this:
Read the room, guys.
What do you think about the Wow China controversy? Sound off in the comments below!