- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 20, 2001

SHANGHAI The Bush administration brought the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks upon the United States by displeasing the world with unilateral actions and taking too hard a line against Palestine and Arab states, several Chinese university students said yesterday.

"President Bush caused the death of those Americans because he doesn't want peace in the Middle East," said one student at Jiao Tong University, who would not give his name. "He can blame no one but himself."

Said student Lu Wong: "America should not make the Arabs feel as if they have come to the end of the road. The Clinton administration worked hard in the Middle East for peace, but President Bush has not."

That the United States acts in its own interest without consulting or caring about world consequences is a common belief among students in this communist country. Jiao Tong University, like many university campuses in large cities such as Beijing, is a hotbed of anti-American rhetoric.

"Americans should ask themselves why so many people hate America," said Wang Yong Xian, a 29-year-old computer student. "They should not just always do as they want."

The sentiment at the school, on the outskirts of China's most modern city, is echoed across the country, the students said. In fact, in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, many Internet Web sites in China sported anti-American diatribes.

"When the Americans attacked Iraq, Yugoslavia and the Chinese Embassy, don't you think they were also terrorists at that time?" asked one Internet user, referring to NATO's accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. President Clinton publicly apologized for the 1999 incident at the time.

Another wrote: "America deserves it. They did so many terrible things in the past. It's good treatment for American hegemony."

By the end of the month, Chinese authorities began deleting such statements from the sites. The country's propaganda ministry issued an "urgent notice" ordering all media and Internet portals to strike anti-American listings, as the country prepared to host the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Unlike Chinese President Jiang Zemin, who did not express sorrow over the Sept. 11 attacks during a press conference yesterday with Mr. Bush, many of the students said they were saddened by the loss of so many lives, which several of them called "horrible."

"I'm very sorry about it," said Yanglie Feng, a 22-year-old material-science student. "All the people of the world should unite to fight terrorism."

Li Wei, a 27-year-old teacher of finance and economics at the university, said most Chinese support President Bush.

"I appreciate what President Bush did after the crisis," she said.

But like the Chinese president, many said the United States is wrong to use force in its war on terrorism if it means civilian casualties.

"This thing has two sides," said Tom Ding, a 29-year-old computer-science student. "It might be right to attack the terrorists, but not if it means they kill innocent people."

Despite the vitriol spouted by some students, many of whom wore T-shirts touting American products such as Pepsi, Old Navy and the Gap, each one interviewed including those who dislike America said they want to visit the United States someday.

"Most Chinese students want to go to America for the freedom," Mr. Feng said.

Some said they are satisfied with the freedom the Chinese government allows. But Mr. Ding said: "The concept of freedom is different. More and more Chinese students would like to go to America."

As the group of students talked to Western reporters, a van with tinted windows rolled slowly by twice. At one point, when the van approached the second time, several students abruptly walked away, not even turning when asked their names.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide