The Philippines, Vietnam and Japan have recently stepped up their rhetoric against China over territorial disputes.
Manila attempted to exert pressure on China through ASEAN, but the request was rejected by the majority of members. Tokyo yesterday withdrew its ambassador to China after a series of protests.
The new provocations brought no benefit to them as China did not change its original stance. These countries are only humiliating themselves.
The Philippines has been the most embarrassed by its futile actions. Manila didn't have the military or diplomatic influence to match its high-pitched verbal provocations. It hoped to embarrass China, which on the contrary has enhanced its actual administration over Huangyan Island and increased its presence in the disputed waters.
After Vietnam announced its new sea law in late June, breaking the status quo, China reacted by formally establishing the city of Sansha and putting nine oil and gas exploration blocks in the South China Sea area up for bidding.
The moves, which helped implement China's sovereignty, dealt a blow to the Hanoi administration.
Meanwhile, after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda suggested plans to nationalize the Diaoyu Islands, he met with a series of follow-up reactions from both Taiwan's and the mainland's activists devoted to protecting the Diaoyu Islands.
A mainland patrol vessel has entered the territorial waters claimed by Japan. In addition to growing public passion for protecting Diaoyu, China is equipped with more countermeasures against Japan's ploys.
This series of conflicts has bolstered the mainland's experience in reacting to external provocations.
The Chinese public actively supports the government adopting a strong position in neighborly territorial disputes. Domestic media has learned this is going to be a long-term tussle and people have more patience in resolving these issues.
Chinese society is learning to express itself truthfully in the face of a complicated international situation. The country used to be overwhelmingly worried about the consequences of insisting on its interests. Now it learns it will not become worse off for it.
Several neighboring countries are attempting to bully China either individually or through alliances. They calculated that China would be cautious about its international image when reacting to these situations. This strategy has proved to be useless, as it failed to trap China.
China's friendly stance was clear when it proposed to put aside the disputes late last century. But Hanoi and Manila have pressed China into taking firm countermeasures. They brought disgrace to themselves.
Though Japan is relatively powerful, China enjoys greater economic leverage. Chinese society is unanimous in not compromising with Japan.
A few Japanese politicians think they can profit politically through challenging China. Eventually they will understand it is a bitter deal.