Techno-Slander: Philippines Bans PRC Voting Machines

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in ,, at 9/17/2015 06:11:00 PM
Would the PRC have rigged voting machines sold to the Philippines? We won't know now.
Back when the United States had a much larger share of the world economy, every other conspiracy theory had the Americans involved in some form of treachery to impose its will on the world. For better or worse, the economic ascent of the arguably even more inscrutable People's Republic of China has resulted in quite a number of US conspiracy theories being replaced by PRC conspiracy theories.

As a large manufacturer of electronics, a cottage industry has been spawned around how China will implement its dastardly plans for world domination by using electronics it makes to either spy on or disrupt the users of these machines. By now everyone knows the story of Western governments--especially that of the United States--discouraging the use of servers made by the Chinese over "security" concerns. Also witness the reluctance to sell IBM's mainframe business to the Chinese who would presumably start using these devices for spying on foreign "customers".

This latest story probably takes the cake in the China paranoia sweepstakes: next year in 2016, the Philippines will hold its presidential election held every six years. Originally, the plan was to use Made in China voting machines. However, Philippine election officials believing that the Chinese are planning to sabotage these machines to take revenge over territorial squabbles the PRC has with the Philippines is the ultimate electronics-based conspiracy theory:
The Philippines said Wednesday it had shifted production of optical mark reader (OMR) machines for the 2016 presidential election from China to Taiwan due to fears that Beijing might "sabotage" the vote. Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista said Wednesday the poll body has decided to transfer the manufacture of OMR machines from Suzhou, China to Taiwan “because of current conditions between the Philippines and China.”

During the hearing of the House committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms on government preparations for the 2016 elections, Comelec Commissioner Robert Lim alleged that there might be an attempt by China to possibly "sabotage" the country's 2016 presidential elections. "We don't want the complications. Another reason why we want all deliveries of machines by January, because we are anticipating the release of the arbitration decision [concerning the territorial dispute] that might affect the elections. So we don't want that, we want to avoid the complications," Lim said.

“I feel personally that the biggest threat to the 2016 elections is China.” There is a possibility that China will not release the OMR machines if the arbitration court rules in favor of the Philippines over the territorial dispute.
This is quite frankly idiotic. As the world's largest exporter of electronics, why would China risk destroying its international reputation to spoil the elections of a buyer? For once, I agree with the complaint made by Chinese authorities that it's totally groundless to suggest evil machinations of this sort:
China has rejected a suggestion from a Philippine election official that China might try to sabotage a presidential election in the Philippines next year, saying it was "sheer fabrication". The suggestion of Chinese meddling in the May election appeared to stem from a dispute between the neighbours over rival claims to parts of the South China Sea.

Elections Commission official Christian Robert Lim told legislators earlier that his agency had transferred production of vote-counting machines from China after intelligence reports that China planned to sabotage the elections because of the South China Sea dispute.

The spokesman at China’s embassy in the Philippines denied any such plan. "The so-called ‘attempt by China’ to ‘sabotage’ the 2016 elections is totally groundless and a sheer fabrication," the embassy spokesman, Li Lingxao, said in a statement. "China has always adhered to the principle of non-interference into other countries’ internal affairs."