CHINA leapt to the defence of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, saying that “anyone without bias” can see the “positive efforts” and “achievements” of the Duterte administration.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang’s praise of Duterte comes after comments from the United Nations rights chief calling his behaviour “disgraceful” and questioning the president’s mental stability.
According to Rappler, Lu directly mentioned the positive impacts of Duterte’s ongoing crackdown on drugs and drug-related crimes, a movement that has been widely condemned by international rights groups after a reported 4,021 people have been killed in police operations.
Duterte’s drug war, along with his efforts to develop the Philippines’ economy, fight terrorism and improve people’s livelihoods have all “effectively protected and promoted the Philippine people’s fundamental rights to security and development,” Lu said.
“The achievements made by the Philippine government led by President Duterte on these fronts have won great approval and extensive support among the Philippine people,” he added.
Following the inclusion of a UN special rapporteur on a terrorist watchlist released by the Philippine Supreme Court, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called Duterte’s behaviour “absolutely disgraceful” and said he needed to submit himself for “psychiatric evaluation.”
His comments drew criticism from presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, who slammed Al Hussein for his “crude language.” Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano also disputed his account, saying “the world actually needs more Dutertes.”
Duterte also came to his own defence during a provocative address to soldiers in the southern city of Zamboanga on Monday.
According to the Philippine Star, Duterte said the United Nations human rights team should be fed to the crocodiles.
“If these fools come here, are there crocodiles here? The ones that eat people? Throw those sons of b****** to them,” he is quoted as saying.
Lu Kang’s defence of Duterte comes at a time of warming relations between the two countries. In November, China committed to over P382 billion (US$7.3 billion) in soft loans and grants to the Philippines. While the Philippine government has agreed to pursue joint sea exploration with Beijing in the highly contested South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).