(Photo courtesy of Atin Ito Coalition)

The Atin Ito Coalition has condemned China’s threat to arrest and detain civilians intruding into the South China Sea, calling it a “desperate move” in response to their “successful” resupply mission to fishermen in Scarborough Shoal.

Akbayan Party President Rafaela David, in a statement Saturday, called Beijing’s threat “a desperate move to undermine the growing and effective active citizenship of Filipinos asserting their rights in the region.”

The new regulation issued by the Chinese government, which it said will take effect in June 2024 authorizes the China Coast Guard (CCG) to detain “foreigners’ who will illegally cross its borders for up to 60 days.

The order coincided with the Atin Ito Coalition’s 2nd resupply mission to WPS, specifically in areas around Scarborough Shoal, within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the coast of Masinloc town in Zambales.

David emphasized the active citizenship among Filipinos in WPS as a growing and viable model to defend the country’s sovereign rights and territorial integrity.

“China’s threats on so-called trespassers in the West Philippine Sea are a clear indication of their desperation. It is China, which is trespassing in our seas. These threats are not only a violation of international law but also an admission by China that our peaceful, civilian-led initiatives are effective and winning the hearts and minds of many in the global community,” she explained.

“China’s attempt to intimidate and deter Filipino citizens from exercising their rightful activities in the WPS will not succeed. Instead, it further galvanizes our resolve to stand up for our rights and freedoms,” she added.

Furthermore, she urged the international community to condemn the latest aggressive tactics of China, which she said is a move to “stifle legitimate civilian movements and maintain their militarized presence in WPS.”