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The Identity of the Chinese in the Philippines (16th and 17th Centuries) BY Niping Yan

This paper explores the identity problem of Chinese in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries through the lens of Chinese trading network in Asia and class differentiation within the Chinese group in the Philippines. Chinese traded with Filipino long before the Spanish colonial era, but more Chinese (male) were attracted to Luzon island after the establishment of Manila in 1571, either becoming seasonal sojourners or migrants. Different from vocabularies of today that “inksik” and “lán-lâng” are equivalents of “Chinese”, Chinese in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Ming and Qing dynasties) identified themselves as “people of Tang” (“唐民”)—a shared identity of overseas Chinese since, at least, the Song dynasty (960-1279) onward. In a bilingual dictionary of the seventeenth century, the first equivalent of the Spanish word “China” was also “Tang” rather than “Ming”, and they used “Sangley” to call someone Chinese or with Chinese ancestry. “Mestizo de Sangley” in the seventeenth century complicates the identity question. Chinese in the Philippines was not a monolithic group. This paper tries to explain what “Ming” China and “people of Tang” meant to overseas Chinese and the evolvement of Chinese identity in the Philippines, to understand the historical process of Chinese coexistence with other ethnic groups in the early modern world. 

The Role of the Filipino-Chinese in Shaping Filipino Nationalist Identity,  1892-1945  BY Richard Elmer Rivera 

A century of discussions about Philippine revolutionary history created the belief that revolutions were waged primarily and largely by the “Great unwashed”, that were indigenous Filipinos, altogether erasing whatever roles and influence other racial communities existing in the Philippines had during these historical watersheds. This belief is problematic: first, the construction of the term “Filipino” is historically ambiguous. Which genus of people does the term refer to? Second, historical narratives show that other races, including even Spanish, and Filipino-Chinese participated in these events. From the Propaganda Movement of the 18th century to World War two, members of the Filipino-Chinese community fought side by side with Filipinos against Western and Japanese colonialism. This collaboration was first anchored on collective feelings of colonial repression and antipathy which erased racially-rooted contradictions that divided the two communities for more than 300 years.  Intellectual exchanges among Filipinos and Filipino-Chinese made strong by comrade-ship during historical crises, led to a dialectical construction of a perceived common identity rooted in shared experiences. By discussing the influence and substantive roles played by the Filipino-Chinese community in Filipino revolutionary movements, a fuller and clearer understanding of what Filipino nationalist identity emerges.  

The Chinese-Filipino Identity Crisis: Finding One’s Self through Media BY Michiko Pearl Palaran 

With the current Chinese-Filipino generation struggling to understand their identity, they try to make sense of themselves with the help of Chinese-Filipino personalities in the media. Traditional media only offers limited representation of the Chinese-Filipino community. On digital media, there are three Chinese-Filipina influencers known as The Trio—Kryz Uy, Laureen Uy, and Camille Co. Using theories of ethnic identification and media representation, this study aimed to find out how ethnic identification factor in the reception of The Trio and their content. Through interviewing 10 female Chinese-Filipino followers of The Trio, this study aimed to analyze the relationship between the audience and the producers, and the effect of similar ethnicity on the subscription of the audiences. With information, entertainment, and aspiration as emerging primary motives of the audience in following the influencers, this thesis located ethnic identification in the reception of the content of The Trio. Furthermore, it looked into the current Chinese traditions that are still being practiced by the community, and how the culture will be carried on in the future generations. 

China issues and rising ethnic tensions and racial conflict: Tsinoys as Collateral Damage BY Teresita Ang See and Wesley Chua 

Recent developments involving new Chinese immigrants in the Philippines cause a lot of concern both for the Tsinoys (Chinese Filipinos) and for the older immigrants who have already integrated into Philippine society. Social media feasts on the frenzy of reaction to adverse news about misdemeanors and malfeasance of new immigrants. Lines are drawn between the new immigrants, old immigrants, the Tsinoys and the Filipinos.  The debate is often heated and cause ethnic and racial tensions. New immigrants malign the Filipinos and disrespect them causing Tsinoys a lot of discomfort because they understand Chinese and think the new immigrants are unfair in belittling Filipinos. At the other end, Filipinos make racist slurs against the Chinese and do not distinguish between the local born Tsinoys, the jiuqiao and the xinqiao but conflate all Chinese together.  Worse, because of the ensuing tensions in the South China sea, the Chinese are looked upon with great distrust and suspicion and there is no differentiation between the Chinese government and the Chinese people.  All these scenarios affect the Tsinoys, the Chinese and the Filipinos. In the ensuing conflict and word wars, the Tsinoys are caught In the crossfire, and unwittingly become collateral damage. Teresita Ang See uses sources from English media and Wesley Chua uses sources from Chinese media in examining this rising racial conflict that is causing grave concern and explores possible interventions that can be adopted to mitigate the issues.  

Post Author: tsinoyconf