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Company denies Filipino connections amid boycott calls (2)

(Xinhua)

13:33, May 15, 2012

"We should be patriotic, but not blindly patriotic," another Beatrice salesperson said.

Tensions in the South China Sea started on April 10, when a Philippine warship harassed 12 Chinese fishing vessels that had sailed near the island to seek shelter from inclement weathers.

Chinese officials have repeatedly stated that Huangyan Island is an inherent part of China's territory and that the surrounding waters are historic fishing areas of Chinese fishermen.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei urged Monday the Philippines to respect China's territorial sovereignty and "refrain from taking action that could expand and complicate the situation."

The Chinese public has grown increasingly frustrated with Manila's response to the Huangyan Island dispute over the past month.

"The outpour of patriotism is understandable," said Li Jinming, a Xiamen University professor who has done extensive research on South China Sea issues. "But we should neither be irrational nor overreact."

He said all legal business activities should be protected so that investors' confidence in the Chinese market would not be harmed.

A number of Philippine businesses, ranging from real estate and clothing to airlines and snack food brands, are currently operating in China. Many of them are located in Fujian, the ancestral home of most of the Philippines' ethnic Chinese population.

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