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China rejects Mindanao freedom group

Manila, Philippines – A worried Chinese government rejected political and military support for the Mindanao Independence Movement (MIM) as requested by the late Datu Udtog Matalam. Veteran journalist Ricardo “Dick” Malay, who was in China in 1971, recalled that Geng Biao, secretary of the International Liaison Department and a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), confirmed that Matalam had written China in the early part of that year to seek material and political support for his cause.

This, Malay said, was “a move that illustrated Beijing’s layered approach toward the era’s revolutionary surge.” It also distinguished China from the United States, which not only maintained military bases in the Philippines at that time and continues to have a battalion of troops in Zamboanga in spite of the ban on the permanent stationing of foreign troops in the country under the 1987 Constitution. (Marvyn N. Benaning)