The Chinese authorities seem to be concerned over the admiration for Osama bin Laden as an “anti-US warrior” that seems to prevail among some sections of its growing community of netizens These sections seem to believe that OBL’s war against the US indirectly helped in countering the US threat to China by keeping the US forces preoccupied in dealing with OBL and Al Qaeda. Now that OBL is dead, the US may have more resources for being used against China. So they fear. An interesting analysis on this subject carried by the Chinese Communist Party controlled “Global Times” on May 10,2011, is annexed below:-
Chinese view of bin laden’s death
Source: Global Times (May 10,2011) — By Shen Weihuang
When US President Barack Obama announced to the world that the most wanted terrorist in modern history has been killed, public opinion was naturally split along the geopolitical divide with most Westerners celebrating, while many in the Middle East mourned.
In China, however, the public’s reaction, as measured by a number of unscientific online polls, was split amid concern that Bin Laden’s demise might refocus dormant tensions between the US and China.
Almost 60 percent of the 500,000 people who took an online survey conducted by Hong Kong based Phoenix television, agreed with the statement that Bin Laden’s death was a sad event because “he was an anti-US warrior.”
Barely 18 percent clicked the statement to indicate they were happy that “the head of terrorism” had been killed, while almost 10 percent of respondents selected the option that indicated they didn’t care.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government didn’t waffle in its support for the killing of Bin Laden. After his death the Chinese Foreign Ministry welcomed the news, saying his death was an “important event” and that terrorists are a public enemy that China opposes terrorism in all its forms.
Another online survey posted on the Global Times’ Chinese website asked participants whether they thought the US would get tougher on China now that Bin Laden is out of the picture. More than 75 percent of the 17,000 respondents clicked “yes.”
Other online portals carried irreverent, even virulent discussions relating to Bin Laden’s death.
A thread on mop.com, one of China’s leading online bulletin boards, suggested Bin Laden’s death should be revenged by “attacking the most vulnerable parts of the US.”
One writer suggested that Bin Laden had been a helpful foil to a number of US presidents. “Thirty years ago, he helped President Reagan take down the Soviet Union, 10 years ago, he helped President Bush begin his military campaign in the Middle East, and now his sacrifice will surely help President Obama win re-election.”
While many experts discount the veracity of online surveys to provide a true measure of public opinion, they also agree that the responses are worrisome.
“Many of the opinions expressed online are irrational and ill-informed. People need to calm down and reflect on what they are saying,” said Shen Dingli, professor of international relations from Fudan University in Shanghai.
Shen has no doubt that the world is now a better, safer place without Bin Laden. “Osama bin Laden was a terrorist, and his death will not only save many people’s lives, it will also bring comfort to the families of those who died. His death is good for humanity,” he said.
Another scholar, Xu Zidong, from Hong Kong’s Lingnan University, believes the decade-old hunt for the terrorist mastermind distracted the US from engaging China on a number of contentious issues.
“Before the 911 attack, the US saw China as its biggest threat. Relations between the two countries were very tense after George W. Bush took the office in January 2001,” Xu said.
In February that year, the US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, upped the pressure on China by ordering a re-evaluation of Sino-US military communications strategy. A month later, Bush ordered all departments to re-evaluate their China strategy.
Two months later a US navy aircraft collided with a Chinese military fighter jet near Hainan Island, killing the Chinese pilot Wang Wei. The US aircraft made an emergency landing on Hainan and its crew of 24 were detained until the US delivered a written account of the incident to the Chinese government.
Three weeks after the military jet incident, Bush announced a $4.5-billion weapons sale to Taiwan, the largest since the president’s father sold 150 F-16 fighter jets to the island almost decade earlier.
President Bush added fuel to the fire and caused an uproar in China when he told American reporters that the US would take all necessary means to protect Taiwan.