Supertyphoon Haiyan, one of the largest and most powerful storms in recorded history covering an area the size of the southeastern United States with winds topping 190 mph, slammed into the Philippines last week, causing uncounted damage and killing by some estimates as many as 10,000 people. And that means, the Philippines needs money.
The United Nations has put out a call for $300 million in aid to the densely populated but impoverished country. Most developed nations have responded.
The United States has pledged $20 million, plus an aircraft carrier to help the relief effort. Britain will send $16 million, Japan, $10 million. Even the Vatican is sending $4 million, while Indonesia will send $2 million to help the storm’s victims.
There is one Scrooge in the bunch, however. China, whose Gross Domestic Product of $7.5 trillion puts it second only to the U.S. as the world’s most powerful economy, will give the suffering country off its shores a scant $100,000.
That amount is the same as the sum donated by the direct-marketing company Amway.
Not only is China being stingy with its pocketbook, many Chinese including one of the country’s state-run national newspapers, feels that Philippines has not shown sufficient gratitude for China’s reputed largesse.
"The Chinese government and people have never begrudged 'love' for the Philippines,” wrote the Southern Daily in a recent editorial. “But the Philippines is obviously not content or even appreciating China's 'love', only expecting 'more love' from China."
The paper went on to complain of the Philippines “harming the Chinese people's feelings.”
Two years ago when Tropical Storm Washi hit the Philippines, China donated $1 million in aid. But relations between the countries largely fell apart this year, over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Posts on Chinese social media outlets reflected the Chinese resentment toward its much smaller rival.
“Our country is also suffering from the same natural disaster, but we still offered help to you,” wrote one poster. “If you do not appreciate our help, give back our money.”
The tail end of the storm swept over south China, killing eight people.
Since the Philippines government has the budget to purchase American weapons, they should not want for money,” another social media participant snarked.
Taiwan has also had disputes with the Philippines. A Taiwanese fisherman was killed by the Philippines Coast Guard earlier this year. But Taiwan pledged $200,0-0 in Haiyan aide, twice China’s sum.
SOURCES: Time Magazine, Jakarta Globe, South China Morning Post, Michigan Live, Live Science, Forbes