Public pissed over weak U.S. response to China : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Friday, April 6, 2001 | 10:18 AM Good morning!

Public pissed over weak U.S. response to China Friday, April 06, 2001


BEIJING -- The Chinese government's determined stand over the U.S. spyplane incident appears to many Americans as curiously troublesome diplomacy from a growing economic ally.

But among many in China, their government has not reacted strongly enough to what they regard as bullying from the United States, a superpower who in their view was arrogant enough to send an espionage plane near their shores and knock one of their airmen out of the sky.

"We can't compromise," said Yang Chunyu, a 26-year-old office worker in Beijing. "Of course they have to apologize, but an apology is not enough. They have to compensate, too. And they should give a written apology and promise this kind of incident will never happen again."

Chinese frustrations are born from years of being criticized by the United States over human-rights violations and other issues, including the U.S. airstrikes on Yugoslavia in 1999 that destroyed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.

Most Chinese simply believe that the United States is wrong and, as their government insists, should say so. They see nothing amiss in detaining the Navy EP-3E surveillance plane and crew of 24 until Beijing gets what it wants.

Wu Qing, a retired English professor, said the United States acted like a bandit.

"What is an American spy plane doing coming over to China, then landing without permission?" she said. "It's like going to someone's house without being invited. I believe America should apologize."

In part, Chinese sentiment is fueled by lingering resentment over the Chinese embassy bombing in Belgrade in May 1999. The bombing spawned violent demonstrations outside the U.S. embassy in Beijing that threatened to spin out of control.

Many Chinese, enraged by the bombing and strident coverage at the time in the propaganda-laden Chinese media, believed the U.S. strikes were intentional. Washington later apologized and gave $4.5 million in compensation to the victims.

"It's the same as the embassy bombing -- America is trying to escape responsibility," said 19-year-old college student Fan Jun.

"(Colin Powell) didn't say it was America's responsibility," he said, referring to the U.S. secretary of state's expression of "regret" for the collision between the U.S. plane and a Chinese F-8 fighter jet over the South China Sea last weekend.

Many Chinese believe their government should use the spyplane incident as an opportunity to flex its muscles.

"The Chinese government is always making protestations, but there's never any result," said Ke Zhaojie, 40, a telephone company employee. "When (Foreign Ministry spokesman) Zhu Bangzao speaks out, what use is that? The Chinese government must sanction. And it can't release the crew too easily. China is a big power now."

The Chinese government confirmed Thursday that the U.S. crew has been questioned by Chinese officials. The Navy pilots and technicians are being detained on the southern island of Hainan, where the damaged U.S. aircraft made an emergency landing.

The Chinese pilot, Wang Wei, lost when he bailed out of his plane and presumed dead, has been the focus of much of the media attention in China. Yet few of the people interviewed Thursday mentioned him unless asked.

"Of course we are concerned about him," said Ke. "The Chinese government spent a lot of money to train him."

Views from the street are decidedly anti-American, though they pale next to the vitriol on Internet chatrooms, whose participants tend to be young and male. There, people are more likely to express extreme nationalistic leanings and advocate radical measures such as war.

There is evidence that the government in Beijing is seeking to dampen extreme public outrage.

The Chinese media have been restrained compared to the inflammatory headlines and gory photos published after the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade two years ago. Authorities have also quickly put a stop to a few small and scattered protests near the U.S. embassy in Beijing.

Still the government's tight control over the media has helped encourage public opinion. The Chinese media have represented the collision as the exclusive fault of the U.S. plane.

Independent military experts have been widely quoted outside China as saying that the more maneuverable fighter jet was more likely to have veered into the larger and slower U.S. plane.

A leading scholar said Chinese anger towards America should be viewed in the context of the limits imposed on public discourse. People here also have strong anger towards the government on matters such as corruption and worker layoffs, but domestic issues are not open for public discussion.

"In China, other more critical, more sophisticated views have no room to be expressed. Therefore the only type of expression you can observe is anger to foreigners," said X.L. Ding, professor of sociology at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

"They (the Chinese government) want to emphasize, 'oh, the Chinese people are so nationalistic.' That's not true," Ding said. "At least a significant portion of educated Chinese are not so stupid. They just have no chance to say it."

To view the current chorus of criticism as fervently nationalistic or overly patriotic is an over-simplification since other opinions are suppressed, he said.

"Relatively speaking, domestic matters anger me more than international matters," said Zhang Hao, 19, a college student. "Chinese people like to fight among themselves. But if foreign countries provoke us more, we will become more united."

-- Martin Thompson (, April 06, 2001


The above article is rather misleading to say the least. I did like the headline because that is the way I feel about this whole sorry mess. The 'talking heads' and so called experts keep repeating over and over that maybe the pilot should have done more to protect the airplane, such as ditching in the ocean, etc. I am sure 24 human lives were more important than all the gear aboard that plane. As a veteran and excrewman on P2V aircraft I find this insane. I fully expect the government to blame this great pilot when he is finally released. Rant off.

-- Martin Thompson (, April 06, 2001.

I hope that I am not stepping on anyone's
sensitivities by posting reports from China
but I believe it is important to read from
both sides to get a clearer view.

This article is the first one that implies
the possibility of manslaughter charges.
I fear the future reaction of the US if any
of the crew is executed ::::-§

The expert pointed out that it is obvious 
that the frequent surveillance flights by U.S. 
planes close to China's territorial waters are 
a challenge to the country's sovereignty, 
regardless of the serious warnings China has 
given time and again.

It is completely just and compatible with 
international law for Chinese planes to 
monitor U.S. spy planes to safeguard China's
sovereignty and security, he noted.

Zhou went on to note that China's arrangements 
for the U.S. crew are out of humanitarian 
concern and should by no means be regarded as 
immunity for them. If the Chinese pilot, who is 
still missing, dies, the US plane should bear 
full responsibility, he  said.

He backed the demands by the Chinese Foreign 
Ministry spokesman that the United States stop 
reconnaissance flights over Chinese coasts and 
explain the incident to the Chinese government,
and that the two governments properly settle the 
issue by taking the general situation into 
consideration. But the US must take full 
responsibility and apologize for the incident.   


-- spider (, April 06, 2001.


TAIPEI, April 2 -- KYODO -- A U.S. surveillance plane made an emergency landing in China on Sunday because two intercepting Chinese fighter jets signaled they would likely open fire, high-placed Taiwan military intelligence sources were quoted as saying Monday.

The sources said they listened in on radio contact between the U.S. Navy aircraft -- an EP-3 Aries II surveillance plane -- and the Chinese jets, the ETT television network reported on its Web site.

The dialogue shows that the Chinese pilots indicated that they were "extremely likely" to open fire, causing the U.S. aircraft to send a mayday signal to prevent an attack, the sources were quoted as saying.

When the U.S. plane prepared for an emergency landing on the Chinese island of Hainan, it was clipped by one of the Chinese jets.

The Chinese jet crashed into the South China Sea and its pilot remains missing. All 24 aboard the U.S. plane were reported unharmed. Washington said that the collision occurred in international airspace.

While China is blaming the U.S. for the collision, the Taiwanese sources said it was the Chinese who caused the collision when they zoomed in on the surveillance plane in a bid to intercept it.

The sources said initially the crew aboard one of the Chinese jets was elated when the U.S. plane went down, but that such euphoria quickly evaporated when they heard that the other Chinese fighter had crashed.

Taiwan's Defense Ministry originally kept a low profile in connection with the incident, saying in a short statement Sunday night that it was on top of the situation.

But on Monday, Administrative Vice Defense Minister Kao Yang called the incident "beyond comprehension," arguing that any country's ground control is able to track and control the movements of its aircraft.

Speaking during questioning in the legislature, Kao refused to comment on whether the incident was likely to cause tension in Sino-U.S. ties.

But he said if both sides took a hard-line stance, the resulting standoff would likely boost Taiwan's prospects for obtaining advanced weaponry from the United States.

He said it was difficult to say whether U.S. arms sales to Taiwan would be positively or negatively affected in the event of an amicable resolution of the collision.

Washington will decide in the coming weeks which items on Taiwan's shopping list -- including four destroyers equipped with the state-of-the-art Aegis antimissile radar system -- will get the go-ahead.

China is adamantly opposed to the Aegis deal since the destroyers would greatly improve Taiwan's ability to fend off incoming Chinese missiles.


-- It's a Matter (, April 06, 2001.

It is completely just and compatible with international law for Chinese planes to monitor U.S. spy planes to safeguard China's sovereignty and security, he noted.

Thats fine. But it is not just and and compatible to shoot or damage such planes.

-- Martin Thompson (, April 06, 2001.

I'm afraid that China hasn't a leg to stand on and the sooner they return our people and our plane, the better. America should break economic ties with them and keep them out of WTO altogether. It is because of all our money and aid that China can boast of its importance in todays world. When are we going to stop allowing ourselves to be walked all over??

-- Pat Rodgers (, April 06, 2001.

My family will not be buying any products from China until long after this is resolved!

-- K. (, April 06, 2001.

The 'game' continues....

HONG KONG, Apr 6, 2001 -- Ten Chinese Fighter Jets Chase Away Five U.S. Spy Planes

-- It's a Matter (, April 06, 2001.

spider, please do continue to contribute articles from the PRC press. It is very useful to see what is being said "elsewhere" (I'm assuming most readers of GICC are in the U.S., Western Europe and A/NZ, a generalization often applied to much of "the internet" and that I believe is accurate).

Information is what this board is about. Let's face it, regardless of one's perspective, we all need to pay attention any time two nuclear powers begin a pissing match (sorry, just using the image contained in the headline that started this thread!). I can only hope that this incident doesn't blow up, in all senses of the word.

FWIW, one of my co-workers was in the U.S. Navy for 20 years and said he sometimes used to fly in the EP3 type of aircraft; he noted to me that they are big lumbering things and he can't imagine the U.S. pilot was trying to play air-to-air chicken with a nimble fighter jet. FWIW.

-- Andre Weltman (, April 09, 2001.

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