many signals were missed.

  • One Year Later in Hong Kong: Neighbors are urged to report on one another. Children are taught to look for traitors. The Communist Party is remaking the city.
  • Mapping Out China’s Post-Covid Path: Xi Jinping, China’s leader, is seeking to balance confidence and caution as his country strides ahead while other places continue to grapple with the pandemic.
  • A Challenge to U.S. Global Leadership: As President Biden predicts a struggle between democracies and their opponents, Beijing is eager to champion the other side.
  • ‘Red Tourism’ Flourishes: New and improved attractions dedicated to the Communist Party’s history, or a sanitized version of it, are drawing crowds ahead of the party’s centennial.
  • Mr. Xi paid respects to Mao, Deng and other past leaders, but the real focus of his speech was clear. He highlighted the country’s achievements since he took office in 2012: eradicating poverty, achieving greater economic prosperity and building a strong military. He used his longtime catchphrase, “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” 21 times.

    95 million members of the Communist Party of China are found in every corner of society, from one of the country’s richest men, Jack Ma, to virtually every village. And Mr. Xi swiped at critics who have said that the party and the Chinese people should not be treated as a united whole.

    senior officer had said earlier that military personnel would stay at their posts to “safeguard the peace and security of the motherland.” Still, squadrons of helicopters flew over Tiananmen Square, carrying red banners and forming the figure 100, followed by fighter jets in a perfect array. Mr. Xi repeatedly stressed his determination to build up China’s military.

    China suppressed the coronavirus relatively quickly last year while the United States, Britain and other democracies suffered waves of deaths. But the country must tackle challenges, such as an aging population that could slow growth. Mr. Xi suggested that the solution to any problem demanded staying with the party.

    “Long live the Chinese Communist Party, great, glorious and correct,” he said at the end of his speech. “Long live the Chinese people, great, glorious and heroic.”

    Steven Lee Myers contributed reporting. Liu Yi, You Li, Claire Fu, Albee Zhang and Joy Dong contributed research.

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    Hong Kong’s Security Law: One Year Later, a City Remade

    HONG KONG — With each passing day, the boundary between Hong Kong and the rest of China fades faster.

    The Chinese Communist Party is remaking this city, permeating its once vibrant, irreverent character with ever more overt signs of its authoritarian will. The very texture of daily life is under assault as Beijing molds Hong Kong into something more familiar, more docile.

    Residents now swarm police hotlines with reports about disloyal neighbors or colleagues. Teachers have been told to imbue students with patriotic fervor through 48-volume book sets called “My Home Is in China.” Public libraries have removed dozens of books from circulation, including one about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.

    when antigovernment protests erupted.

    Now, armed with the expansive national security law it imposed on the city one year ago, Beijing is pushing to turn Hong Kong into another of its mainland megacities: economic engines where dissent is immediately smothered.

    goose-step in the Chinese military fashion, replacing decades of British-style marching. City leaders regularly denounce “external elements” bent on undermining the country’s stability.

    Senior officials in Hong Kong have assembled, right hands raised, to pledge fealty to the country, just as mainland bureaucrats are regularly called on to “biao tai,” Mandarin for “declaring your stance.”

    also warn of termination or other vague consequences if violated. Mr. Li had heard some supervisors nagging his colleagues to fill out the form right away, he said, and employees competing to say how quickly they had complied.

    “The rules that were to protect everyone — as employees and also as citizens — are being weakened,” Mr. Li said.

    purge candidates it deemed disloyal, Beijing called the change “perfecting Hong Kong’s electoral system.” When Apple Daily, a major pro-democracy newspaper, was forced to close after the police arrested its top executives, the party said the publication had abused “so-called freedom of the press.” When dozens of opposition politicians organized an informal election primary, Chinese officials accused them of subversion and arrested them.

    helped lead an operation that smuggled students and academics out of the mainland.

    But Beijing is more sophisticated now than in 1989, Mr. Chan said. It had cowed Hong Kong even without sending in troops; that demanded respect.

    end of an era.

    The rush of mainland money has brought some new conditions.

    declaring that those who do not go risk missing opportunities.

    Growing up in Hong Kong, Toby Wong, 23, had never considered working on the mainland. Her mother came from the mainland decades earlier for work. Salaries there were considerably lower.

    promising to subsidize nearly $1,300 of a $2,300 monthly wage — higher than that of many entry-level positions at home. A high-speed rail between the two cities meant she could return on weekends to see her mother, whom Ms. Wong must financially support.

    Ms. Wong applied to two Chinese technology companies.

    “This isn’t a political question,” she said. “It’s a practical question.”

    many signals were missed.

  • Mapping Out China’s Post-Covid Path: Xi Jinping, China’s leader, is seeking to balance confidence and caution as his country strides ahead while other places continue to grapple with the pandemic.
  • A Challenge to U.S. Global Leadership: As President Biden predicts a struggle between democracies and their opponents, Beijing is eager to champion the other side.
  • ‘Red Tourism’ Flourishes: New and improved attractions dedicated to the Communist Party’s history, or a sanitized version of it, are drawing crowds ahead of the party’s centennial.
  • The Hong Kong government has issued hundreds of pages of new curriculum guidelines designed to instill “affection for the Chinese people.” Geography classes must affirm China’s control over disputed areas of the South China Sea. Students as young as 6 will learn the offenses under the security law.

    Lo Kit Ling, who teaches a high school civics course, is now careful to say only positive things about China in class. While she had always tried to offer multiple perspectives on any topic, she said, she worries that a critical view could be quoted out of context by a student or parent.

    accused it of poisoning Hong Kong’s youth. The course had encouraged students to analyze China critically, teaching the country’s economic successes alongside topics such as the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

    Officials have ordered the subject replaced with a truncated version that emphasizes the positive.

    “It’s not teaching,” Ms. Lo said. “It’s just like a kind of brainwashing.” She will teach an elective on hospitality studies instead.

    Schoolchildren are not the only ones being asked to watch for dissent. In November, the Hong Kong police opened a hotline for reporting suspected violations of the security law. An official recently applauded residents for leaving more than 100,000 messages in six months. This week, the police arrested a 37-year-old man and accused him of sedition, after receiving reports that stickers pasted on the gate of an apartment unit potentially violated the security law.

    most effective tools of social control on the mainland. It is designed to deter people like Johnny Yui Siu Lau, a radio host in Hong Kong, from being quite so free in his criticisms of China.

    Mr. Lau said a producer recently told him that a listener had reported him to the broadcast authority.

    “It will be a competition or a struggle, how the Hong Kong people can protect the freedom of speech,” Mr. Lau said.

    censor films deemed a danger to national security. Some officials have demanded that artwork by dissidents like Ai Weiwei be barred from museums.

    Still, Hong Kong is not yet just another mainland metropolis. Residents have proved fiercely unwilling to relinquish freedom, and some have rushed to preserve totems of a discrete Hong Kong identity.

    font of hope and pride amid a resurgence in interest in Canto-pop.

    Last summer, Herbert Chow, who owns Chickeeduck, a children’s clothing chain, installed a seven-foot figurine of a protester — a woman wearing a gas mask and thrusting a protest flag — and other protest art in his stores.

    But Mr. Chow, 57, has come under pressure from his landlords, several of whom have refused to renew his leases. There were 13 Chickeeduck stores in Hong Kong last year; now there are five. He said he was uncertain how long his city could keep resisting Beijing’s inroads.

    “Fear — it can make you stronger, because you don’t want to live under fear,” he said. Or “it can kill your desire to fight.”

    Joy Dong contributed research.

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    John Cena Apologizes to China for Calling Taiwan a Country

    John Cena, the professional wrestler and a star of “F9,” the latest installment in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, apologized to fans in China on Tuesday after he referred to Taiwan as a country while giving a promotional interview.

    Joining a long list of celebrities and companies that have profusely apologized after taking an errant step through China’s political minefields, Mr. Cena posted a video apology in Mandarin on Weibo, a Chinese social network.

    Beijing considers Taiwan, a self-ruled democratic island, to be a breakaway province and claims it as part of China. Referring to it as a country is often an offensive assertion in China, where matters of sovereignty and territory are passionate issues driven by a strong sense of nationalism.

    Mr. Cena apologized for a statement he made in an interview with the Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS. In it, he told the reporter in Mandarin, “Taiwan is the first country that can watch” the film.

    Xinjiang, pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong or the status of Taiwan and Tibet.

    a fierce backlash when Daryl Morey, then the general manager of the Houston Rockets, tweeted in support of the Hong Kong protests in 2019. (LeBron James, one of basketball’s biggest stars, offered a China-friendly response, saying Mr. Morey “wasn’t educated on the situation at hand” by supporting the protesters.)

    Movie studios often preemptively ensure their content won’t run afoul of Chinese censors, a practice once mocked by “South Park.”

    But quite often, the political problems arise in cases where a company appeared to have no idea it was accidentally crossing a line.

    That list would include Gap, which in 2018 created a T-shirt that omitted Taiwan, parts of Tibet and islands in the South China Sea from a map of China on the shirt’s design. The luxury brands Versace, Givenchy and Coach said in 2019 they all made mistakes when they produced T-shirts that identified Hong Kong and Macau as countries.

    “Versace reiterates that we love China deeply, and resolutely respect China’s territory and national sovereignty,” the company said in a statement at the time.

    China ordered 36 airlines to remove references to Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong as separate countries on their websites in 2018, a step the Trump administration dismissed as “Orwellian nonsense.”

    That year, Marriott clarified on its Weibo account that it “will absolutely not support any separatist organization that will undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” after a customer survey listed the territories as separate countries.

    Mercedes-Benz Instagram account quoted the Dalai Lama, whom many in China view as a dangerous separatist advocating Tibetan independence.

    The release of “F9” was delayed for a year during the coronavirus pandemic. It drew an estimated $162 million in tickets in eight international markets, including China and South Korea, over the weekend. As the newest film in a hugely successful series, “F9” is seen by Hollywood as the kind of blockbuster needed to draw people back to theaters.

    Amy Chang Chien contributed reporting from Taipei, and Claire Fu from Beijing.

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    In the Russian Arctic, the First Stirrings of a Very Cold War

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    FRANZ JOSEF LAND, Russia — Chunky green trucks carry Bastion anti-ship missiles that can be prepared for launch in just five minutes. A barracks building, sealed off from the elements like a space station, accommodates 150 or so soldiers. And a new runway can handle fighter jets, two of which recently buzzed the North Pole.

    Franz Josef Land, a jumble of glacier-covered islands in the Arctic Ocean named after a Austro-Hungarian emperor, was until a few years ago mostly uninhabited, home to polar bears, walruses, sea birds and little else. But thanks to a warming climate, all that is changing, and quickly.

    Nowhere on Earth has climate change been so pronounced as in the polar regions. The warming has led to drastic reductions in sea ice, opening up the Arctic to ships during the summer months and exposing Russia to new security threats.

    Arctic Council, a diplomatic club of nations, including the United States, that share interests in the region.

    National Snow and Ice Data Center said last year. The ocean has lost nearly a million square miles of ice and is expected to be mostly ice-free in the summertime, including at the North Pole, by around the middle of the century.

    wrote of Russia’s problem of disappearing ice.

    Lt. Col. Balabeg A. Eminov is the commander of the anti-ship battery and other facilities on Franz Josef Land, called the Trefoil Base. “The main question in the Arctic is the limited accessibility for ships, because of ice,” he said. “Now the area of open water is increasing, and with it the area for ship activity.”

    published last year. The latest U.S. military strategy for the Arctic, published in 2019, refers euphemistically to vanishing ice as the “changing physical environment.”

    father of the Russian Navy, and oil paintings of sailing ships in battle.

    Moored at its base in Murmansk Fjord, the Peter the Great was also visited by flocks of sea gulls, which flapped around its gray-painted radar masts and over the 20 launch tubes for anti-ship missiles. Sailors with side arms stood watch by the gangplank, seemingly oblivious to the cold rain lashing their faces.

    Elsewhere in Murmansk Fjord, and not shown to reporters, is another dimension of the Russian military buildup: a secretive program to train seals and beluga whales for as-yet unknown missions. Satellite images have revealed their sea pens at a special operations site. Two years ago, a trained beluga wearing a mysterious harness, possibly an escapee, turned up in Norway and was nicknamed Whaldimir.

    posted the footage online. The United States this month sailed the U.S.S. New Mexico, a Virginia-class submarine, into Tromso, Norway, for a rare call at a civilian port.

    In the same vein, the tour for foreign journalists to some of Russia’s most remote and secretive military facilities in the Arctic Ocean seemed intended to highlight the country’s capabilities.

    “Inviting journalists to come look at these modernized, reinvigorated Cold War sites is all about signaling,” said Marisol Maddox, an Arctic analyst at the Polar Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center, a research organization in Washington.

    Russia, she said, wants to keep up its “strongman persona” in an era of climate change.

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    Top Philippine Diplomat Targets China in Expletive-Laced Tirade

    MANILA — The Philippine government under the famously foul-mouthed Rodrigo Duterte has at times conducted its diplomacy with the most undiplomatic of language.

    In dealing with China, by contrast, Mr. Duterte has generally chosen honey over vinegar, fearful of the consequences of lashing out. But on Monday, that did not stop his top diplomat from doing exactly that.

    “China, my friend, how politely can I put it? Let me see…,” wrote Teodoro Locsin Jr., Mr. Duterte’s foreign minister, in a tirade on his personal Twitter account. Then, in direct and vulgar terms, he demanded that Beijing pull its ships out of Manila’s waters in the South China Sea.

    “What are you doing to our friendship?” he continued. “You. Not us. We’re trying. You. You’re like an ugly oaf forcing your attentions on a handsome guy who wants to be a friend.”

    tone it down.

    Last week, Mr. Duterte profusely thanked China for delivering Covid-19 vaccines to the country, saying he was deeply indebted. And on Monday, he appeared to receive his first dose of the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine, according to a livestream shared on Facebook by a Filipino lawmaker.

    Still, the territorial issues are a red line of sorts for the Philippines, even if Mr. Duterte has at times sounded almost apologetic in explaining his case.

    He said that Philippine patrols in the area would not cease, but that his country did not want to “trouble” China, especially with “a war.”

    “There are things that are not really subject to a compromise, such as us pulling back” our patrols, Mr. Duterte said. “It’s difficult. I hope they understand, but I have the interest of my country also to protect.”

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    China and the Climate

    When I was last in China, in 2019, I met an entrepreneur named Gao Jifan, who told me a story that I’ve been reflecting on during President Biden’s climate summit this week.

    Back in the 1990s, Gao received a letter from an old friend who was living in the United States. The letter included a photo clipped from a newspaper, showing President Bill Clinton as he announced a plan to outfit one million homes with solar power.

    “It was like a light bulb,” Gao recalled, as we were sitting in his office in Changzhou, about 100 miles northwest of Shanghai. Clinton’s initiative caused Gao — a chemist by training — to think that he should start a company to meet the coming demand for solar equipment. That company, Trina Solar, has since made Gao a billionaire.

    For the inspiration, Gao is grateful to the U.S. But he is also befuddled by the American approach to climate change.

    the sharp policy changes from one to the next. Those changes, he added, had hurt the solar industry and other clean-energy efforts: If the U.S. took a more consistent approach, the global struggle to slow climate change would be easier.

    Many Americans have come to believe a different story — namely, that U.S. climate policy hardly matters compared with the actions of China, India and other countries that account for a growing share of emissions. As some congressional Republicans have been asking this week, why should the U.S. act to slow climate change unless other countries do so first?

    But that view is not consistent with history, either the recent history of climate diplomacy or the broader history of American influence.

    “There aren’t many other areas of policy where we say, ‘Why don’t we let everyone else lead, and we’ll follow?’” as Nathaniel Keohane of the Environmental Defense Fund says. The U.S., for all its problems, remains the world’s most powerful country. When it wants to influence the policies of other countries, it can often do so, especially when those countries see it as being in their own interests to change.

    more reliant on coal than Biden administration officials wish. But the U.S. can often have an effect. Relative to many other issues, in fact, climate diplomacy is sometimes easier: President Xi Jinping has largely rejected U.S. entreaties on Hong Kong, Xinjiang and the South China Sea, but he has been willing to deal on climate change.

    President Barack Obama and Xi came to multiple agreements that involved both countries moving to reduce emissions. They started small, with the relatively narrow topic of refrigerants, and expanded from there. As my colleague Brad Plumer says, “There’s a reasonable argument the Obama administration’s and China’s joint agreement on climate change in 2014 helped set the table for the Paris climate agreement.”

    Crucial to these efforts was a U.S. willingness to act at home: It’s much easier to agree to take economic risks when your main global competitor is doing the same. And the U.S. still leads the world in per-person emissions, about 75 percent above China, according to recent numbers.

    The Trump administration slowed global efforts on climate change by dismissing it as a threat and allowing more pollution at home. A Chinese official last week mocked the U.S. for “the lost four years.” The Biden administration is now trying to reverse course, with an emissions-reduction goal that’s larger than many advocates expected.

    The cynical view — that the U.S. can only follow, not lead, on climate policy — has it backward. As Gao told me, one of the biggest obstacles to progress on climate change has been the lack of consistent American leadership.

    More on the climate:

    soccer superleague fall apart?

    Modern Love: Her mind could rationalize polyamory, but her heart rebelled.

    Lives Lived: Gregory Edward Jacobs, known as Shock G, was the frontman of Digital Underground, a hip-hop group that had a string of hits in the early 1990s and introduced its audience to Tupac Shakur. Shock G died at 57.

    with a red carpet and an in-person ceremony. Here’s what to watch for:

    Watch some of the nominated films using this streaming guide. And test your knowledge of Oscars trivia or fill out a 2021 ballot.

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    Seeking Cooperation on Climate, U.S. Faces Friction With China

    The United States and China do not agree on much nowadays, but on climate change both countries are publicly pledging to do more to fight global warming. The problem will be working together on it.

    On Thursday, President Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, met in Shanghai with his counterpart to press China on reducing its carbon emissions, at a time when an emboldened Communist Party leadership has become increasingly dismissive of American demands.

    In Beijing’s view, the United States still has much ground to recover after walking away from the Paris climate agreement, the 2015 accord to address the catastrophic effects of warming.

    Mr. Biden’s commitments to now make climate change a top priority are, to officials in Beijing, merely catching up to China after its leader, Xi Jinping, last year pledged to accelerate the country’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

    article on Wednesday before Mr. Kerry’s visit.

    A main purpose of Mr. Kerry’s travels to China and elsewhere has been to rally support for Mr. Biden’s virtual climate summit of dozens of world leaders next week. Mr. Xi has not yet accepted the invitation, but he will join a similar conference on Friday with President Emmanuel Macron of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

    rivalry over technology could spill into climate policy, where innovations in energy, batteries, vehicles and carbon storage offer solutions for reducing emissions. Already, American lawmakers are demanding that the United States block Chinese products from being used in the infrastructure projects that Mr. Biden has proposed.

    “If there is a serious lack of basic trust, strategic and political, between China and the U.S., that will inevitably hold back deepening cooperation in the specialized sphere of climate change,” Zou Ji, the president of Energy Foundation China, who has advised Chinese climate negotiators, wrote recently in a Chinese foreign policy journal.

    Cooperation between the United States, the worst emitter of greenhouse gases historically, and China, the worst in the world today, could spur greater efforts from other countries. China accounts for 28 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions; the United States, in second place, emits 14 percent of the global total.

    Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and other American officials have said they are prepared to cooperate with the Chinese government on issues like climate, even as they confront it others, including the crackdowns in Hong Kong and Xinjiang and the menacing military operations against Taiwan and in the South China Sea.

    It is not clear that Mr. Xi’s government is prepared to compartmentalize in the same way. Officials have indicated that the souring of relations has spoiled the entire range of issues between the two countries.

    “Chinese-U.S. climate cooperation still faces many internal and external constraints and difficulties,” said a study released this week by the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies.

    resume the role of China’s climate envoy.

    Both he and Mr. Kerry — a former secretary of state and Senate colleague of Mr. Biden’s — have high-level support from the leaders who appointed them, making them powerful voices in the political bureaucracies they must confront at home.

    Lauri Myllyvirta, the lead analyst at the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air in Helsinki, who closely follows Chinese climate policy. “His position has the aura of having been installed from the top.”

    The Chinese climate official also oversaw a study from Tsinghua University last year that he has indicated helped shape Mr. Xi’s goals to achieve net carbon neutrality for China before 2060.

    video talk late last month with António Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general, Mr. Xie said that wealthy countries should deliver on promises of financial support to help poorer countries cope with global warming and acquire emissions-reducing technology.

    official Chinese summary of the meeting. He also appeared to gently suggest that the Biden administration should not assume that it naturally belonged at the head of the table.

    “We welcome the United States’ return to the Paris Accord,” Mr. Xie said, “and look forward to the United States striving to catch up and exercise leadership.”

    Somini Sengupta contributed reporting. Claire Fu contributed research.

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    With Swarms of Ships, Beijing Tightens Its Grip on the South China Sea

    The Chinese ships settled in like unwanted guests who wouldn’t leave.

    As the days passed, more appeared. They were simply fishing boats, China said, though they did not appear to be fishing. Dozens even lashed themselves together in neat rows, seeking shelter, it was claimed, from storms that never came.

    Not long ago, China asserted its claims on the South China Sea by building and fortifying artificial islands in waters also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia. Its strategy now is to reinforce those outposts by swarming the disputed waters with vessels, effectively defying the other countries to expel them.

    The goal is to accomplish by overwhelming presence what it has been unable to do through diplomacy or international law. And to an extent, it appears to be working.

    “Beijing pretty clearly thinks that if it uses enough coercion and pressure over a long enough period of time, it will squeeze the Southeast Asians out,” said Greg Poling, the director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, which tracks developments in the South China Sea. “It’s insidious.”

    called their presence “a clear provocation.” Vietnam’s foreign ministry accused China of violating the country’s sovereignty and demanded that the ships leave.

    By this week, some had left but many remained, according to satellite photographs taken by Maxar Technologies, a company based in Colorado. Others moved to another reef only a few miles away, while a new swarm of 45 Chinese ships was spotted 100 miles northeast at another island controlled by the Philippines, Thitu, according to the satellite photos and Philippine officials.

    intensifying confrontation between China and the United States.

    Although the United States has not taken a position on disputes in the South China Sea, it has criticized China’s aggressive tactics there, including the militarization of its bases. For years, the United States has sent Navy warships on routine patrols to challenge China’s asserted right to restrict any military activity there — three times just since President Biden took office in January.

    Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken expressed support for the Philippines over the presence of the Chinese vessels. “We will always stand by our allies and stand up for the rules-based international order,” he wrote on Twitter.

    The buildup has highlighted the further erosion of the Philippines’ control of the disputed waters, which could become a problem for the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte.

    The country’s defense department dispatched two aircraft and one ship to Whitsun Reef to document the buildup but did not otherwise intervene. It is not known whether Vietnamese forces responded.

    ruled in 2016 that China’s expansive claim to almost all of the South China Sea had no legal basis, though it stopped short of dividing the territory among its various claimants. China has based its claims on a “nine-dash line” drawn on maps before the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

    A Philippine patrol first reported the large number of ships at Whitsun Reef on March 7. According to Mr. Poling, satellite photographs have shown a regular, though smaller, Chinese presence over the past year at the reef.

    civilian force that has become an integral instrument of China’s new maritime strategy. Many of these boats, while unarmed, are operated by reservists or others who carry out the orders of the Coast Guard and People’s Liberation Army.

    “They may be doing illicit activities at night and their lingering (swarming) presence may cause irreparable damage to the marine environment,” the task force’s statement said.

    The presence of so many Chinese ships is meant to intimidate. “By having them there, and spreading them out across these expanses of water around the reefs the others occupy, or around oil and gas fields or fishing grounds, you are steadily pushing the Filipinos and the Vietnamese out,” Mr. Poling said.

    “If you’re a Filipino fisherman, you’re always getting harassed by these guys,” he said. “They’re always maneuvering a little too close, blowing horns at you. At some point you just give up and stop fishing there.”

    Patrols and statements aside, Mr. Duterte’s government does not seem eager to confront China. His spokesman, Harry Roque, echoed the Chinese claims that the ships were merely sheltering temporarily.

    “We hope the weather clears up,” he said, “and in the spirit of friendship we are hoping that their vessels will leave the area.”

    The Philippines has become increasingly dependent on Chinese trade and, as it fights the pandemic, largess.

    On Monday, the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines arrived in Manila from China with great fanfare. As many as four million doses are scheduled to arrive by May, some of them donations. China’s ambassador, Huang Xilian, attended the vaccines’ arrival and later met with Mr. Duterte.

    “China is encroaching on our maritime zone, but softening it by sending us vaccines,” said Antonio Carpio, an outspoken retired Supreme Court justice who is expert in the maritime dispute. “It’s part of their P.R. effort to soften the blow, but we should not fall for that.”

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