We Hear You: ABS-CBN cable channel cancels Chinatown News TV

The anchors of Chinatown News TV, which aired a few episodes on ANC
The anchors of Chinatown News TV, which aired a few episodes on ANC

Broadcaster ABS-CBN has decided to cancel its contract with the producers of the embattled Chinatown News TV after Filipinos online accused the news program of perpetuating Beijing’s propaganda.

“FYI, ANC will no longer carry Chinatown News TV,” ABS-CBN News reporter Mike Navallo said in a tweet. ANC is ABS-CBN’s news channel on cable.

Read: Chinese vessel sinks Philippine fishing boat in West Philippine Sea, abandons crew members

The Filipino Channel (TFC) also told a former journalist that ANC is no longer airing the program. TFC is also owned by ABS-CBN and airs its programs in different countries all over the world.

Chinatown News TV, a Manadarin news show, aimed to promote Chinese President Xi Jin Ping’s One Belt One Road initiative. The infrastructure strategy sees China investing in the development of several countries in a bid to “enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future,” according to Beijing. However, critics have said that it was a form of neo-colonialism and that China just wanted to trap other countries, such as the Philippines, in massive amounts of debt.

Filipinos online railed at ABS-CBN for airing the program as a blocktimer. They became even more annoyed when it was divulged that the show’s producer, Horizon Sun Communications, was the same organization behind the music video “Iisang Dagat” (“One Sea”). The widely-panned song was written by the Chinese ambassador to Manila, and while it was supposedly a tribute to Filipino front liners, critics have said that the video tried to justify Beijing’s occupation of the West Philippine Sea.

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Netizens have accused ABS-CBN of becoming China’s lapdog (“tuta ng China”) for airing the program. They also felt that it was done in bad taste because ABS-CBN’s news crew was chased by the Chinese coast guard for entering the West Philippine Sea several days ago.

However, the broadcaster’s news chief Ging Reyes defended the company’s decision, saying that ABS-CBN “resist[s] the 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,” she said.

“Rather than belittle their attempt to provide a service to their local community, it’s time we considered embracing the diversity of this land we all call home,” Reyes added.

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