BEIJING (Reuters) – China said on Thursday that online comments calling on the government not to help the typhoon-struck Philippines did not reflect most Chinese people’s view, as it announced a further $ 1.64 million in aid.
China, the world’s second-largest economy, initially announced it was giving just $ 200,000 to the Philippines, which was dwarfed by far larger contributions from countries like Japan, Britain and New Zealand.
Many Chinese took to Sina Weibo, the country’s answer to Twitter, to say that the government should give nothing to a country with which China is locked in a bitter diplomatic dispute over islands in the South China Sea.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said he was certain most people were actually saddened by what had happened in the Philippines, where up to 10,000 could have died when Typhoon Haiyan tore through the middle of the country last week.
“I don’t know how much comment you saw on the internet, but believe me that the Chinese are a nation who have a lot of sympathy, a people who love peace, who are happy to do good deeds,” he told a daily news briefing.
“I believe that the vast majority of the Chinese people are understanding and sympathetic towards the situation of the Philippine people.”
He said that China had also donated thousands of tents and blankets, putting the value at 10 million yuan ($ 1.64 million), adding that the aid level would continue to be “changed and adjusted” depending on need.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)