It looks at first glance like the number is missing a few zeroes or a decimal point, but no, mighty China has indeed reached deep into its coffers and pledged all of $100,000 in aid to the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. Contrast that with $20 million from the US, $16 million from Britain, $10 million from Japan, and even $4 million from the Vatican. "Even if it now rushes aid and supplies to the Philippines’ storm-battered provinces, the Chinese government has been made to look mean-spirited in front of the world community," writes Hannah Beech at Time.
This "cold shoulder," in the words of David Bosco at Foreign Policy, is the apparent result of a long-simmering maritime dispute between the two nations. Bosco provides plenty of detail on their naval and courtroom confrontations, and Beech sums it up as tensions "over bits of rocks in the South China Sea that both nations have declared their own." The piddly aid figure is now starting to draw lots of negative attention to Beijing. "China may have wasted the chance to build goodwill in Southeast Asia with its relatively paltry donation," writes Megha Rajagopalan at Reuters.