- - Wednesday, September 14, 2011

SAVORing 9/11

The 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks provided China’s official media with ample reason to celebrate what it called America’s “moribund decline.” The state-controlled press issued a thorough condemnation of America for what it said was U.S. culpability for causing the attacks.

The official Xinhua News Agency and the Communist Party’s mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, all jumped into the foray. The People’s Daily’s belligerent subsidiary newspaper Global Times published a series of anti-American diatribes including an op-ed by professor Shen Dingli, one of China’s leading analysts on international affairs and a dean at Shanghai’s Fudan University. Mr. Shen predicted “there will never be peace between al Qaeda and the United States for the next 100 years” because, he asserted, the United States has refused, and always will, to accept what Mr. Shen called certain “justified soundness” of terrorism. He added that the Sept. 11 attacks really have not changed the position of the United States.

Another op-ed headlined “There May Be No Complete End to the Era of 9/11” was written by the army’s senior strategist, Maj. Gen. Peng Guangqian, an officer well known for his high-pitched cries calling for war against Taiwan. Gen. Peng directly attributed the attacks to the evils of international capitalism led by the double-faced and saber-rattling America. “The selfish, greedy, exploitative and barbaric nature of capitalism that has dominated global economy,” Peng wrote, is the No. 1 reason for past and future terrorist attacks on the United States.

Provincial Chinese media outlets appeared to have received the same editorial instructions from the Communist Party’s Propaganda Ministry and published harsh-toned articles as well.

Even the usually less-hardline newspaper, the Southern Metropolitan News in Guangdong province, published three full pages savoring the decline of the United States that it linked to the terrorist attacks, calling it the consequence of “using one form of violence to replace another.”


On Sept. 7, Vice President Joseph R. Biden wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times called “China’s Rise Isn’t Our Demise” that recapped some of the points he made to the Chinese during his recent goodwill, keep-buying trip to China.

The Chinese government took the opportunity to censor translations of the column in China in an apparent bid to mislead the Chinese people and hide criticism of China’s poor human rights record.

The day after the column appeared, major Chinese news outlets “translated” it but carefully censored all the words deemed not kosher under Communist Party propaganda rules.

The Global Times, for instance, censored or “editorially translated” three paragraphs, including these apparently forbidden lines by Mr. Biden:

“In China, I argued that for it to make the transition to an innovation economy, it will have to open its system, not least to human rights.”

“Fundamental rights are universal, and China’s people aspire to them. Liberty unlocks a people’s full potential, while its absence breeds unrest.”

“Open and free societies are best at promoting long-term growth, stability, prosperity and innovation.”

In China, “editorially translate” means translated text without adhering to the original meaning, a common practice of Communist censors.

Other mentions in Mr. Biden’s original piece on intellectual property rights, Chinese currency revaluation, and open market competition were predictably deleted in Chinese translated versions.


The outrage of the week in China was the recklessness shockingly on display by the teenage son of a high-ranking People’s Liberation Army official. On the evening of Sept 6, the teenage son driving an unlicensed BMW rear-ended an Audi. Li Tianyi, 15, jumped out of his BMW and savagely beat the Audi driver. He is the son of nationally renowned military choir tenor Li Shuanjiang, who is famous for his renditions of many Communist songs over the decades and holds a rank equivalent to a major general.

A police background check showed the teen had been involved in 32 previous traffic violations and was never punished. His father apparently panicked after the incident because the victim was reportedly a relative of the personal secretary to Defense Minister Gen. Liang Guanglie. Profuse apologies from the father to the victim were delivered at the PLA General Staff’s 309 Hospital. But public outrage over the incident is aflame throughout China.

Miles Yu’s column appears Thursdays. He can be reached at mmilesyu@gmail.com.

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