From bogeyman to coup plot
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There were several stages of the news spin: it started with the original fake news that tagged the Chinese fishing boats as “CMM” (Chinese Maritime Militia) and continued until the wind-down of the entire agit-prop (agitation and propaganda) operation on April 18, 2021 when defense officials Lorenzana and Sobejana tamped down the social media spin of some “AFP officials’ withdrawal of support.” From merely being ships moored at the Whitsun Reef, the 220 Chinese fishing boats became a “swarm.” However, anyone familiar with deep sea fishing operations knows that fishing fleets of hundreds of boats are not unusual. According to SEAFDEC, the Philippines’ total fishing fleet numbers up to 250,000 small and medium sized boats, while the registered commercial fishing fleet number 4,000 ships.
Laurel, H. T. (2021, April 28). From bogeyman to coup plot. Manila Standard, p. B1.
Associated contentOnline version
Fishing vessels; Military operations; Fishing; Territorial waters; Disputes; Fishing fleet; National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS); Chinese Maritime Militia; Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC); National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA); Chinese Coast Guard; Philippine Navy; Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP); Huang, Xilian; Lorenzana, Delfin; Zambrano, Chiara; Panelo, Sal; Thayer, Carl
- Manila Standard 
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