Homeland Security

Netizen support for Osama bin Laden in China
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By B Raman
Issue Net Edition | Date : 11 May , 2011

“The Taiwan question has always been the most contentious issue between the US and China and Bush’s remarks were intolerable. To be honest, we believed the situation was going to continue to escalate,” said Zhu Feng, professor of International Relations at Peking University.

In September of that year, New York’s World Trade Center buildings were attacked and US attention become firmly fixed on to the Middle East.

“After 911, I had a sense of relief that the pressure between China and the US would ease off, but the discontent and anger among Chinese isn’t easily forgotten,” Xu said.

Over the past decade, China and the US have cooperated on a number of fronts to combat terrorism. Two weeks after 911 officials from both countries met in Washington to develop an anti-terrorism framework.

China also agreed to provide greater political and diplomatic support to the US in the United Nations after 911, noted an essay published by the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. The authors also suggest China played a role in improving ties between the US and Pakistan.

As well, China helped hem in Al-Qeada militants by closing its border with Afghanistan and allowed an American aircraft carrier to refuel and re-supply in Hong Kong.

In response to China’s moves, the US listed the “East Turkistan Islamic Movement” as a terrorist organization in 2002, and killed it’s founder, Hasan Mahsum, during a joint military operation with Pakistan in 2003.

Relations were strained again in 2004 after the US released members of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement who were being held as prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and refused to hand them over to China.

Many political scientists believe that China and the US have too much at stake on too many other fronts to allow their country’s hawks to force a serious deterioration of relations. The two countries’ economies are all but dependent on bilateral trade, financing and investment. The countries have also cooperated on international legal issues such money laundering, human trafficking and piracy.

“The death of Bin Laden won’t have much influence on current Sino-US relations. The war on terrorism is far from over and the US will be on high alert for a terrorist attack for the next five to 10 years,” said Sun Zhe, director of the center for Sino-US relations at Tsinghua University.

“It’s unlikely the US will continue to give China a hard time and the political situation is totally different than it was in 2001. The US seems to have realized that pressure tactics can only harm relations,” he added.

And indeed relations continue to move apace as witnessed by the Third Sino-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue, which ended in the Washington yesterday. At the meeting Vice Premier Wang Qishan perhaps offered a hopeful insight into future bilateral relations when he said “China and the US have far more shared interests than differences.”

“So the voice from the Internet is just a flash in the pan, the greater trend can’t be stopped, no one wants to see giants like China and the US in conflict,” said professor Shen.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

B Raman

Former, Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai & Additional Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat. He is the author of The Kaoboys of R&AW, A Terrorist State as a Frontline Ally,  INTELLIGENCE, PAST, PRESENT & FUTUREMumbai 26/11: A Day of Infamy and Terrorism: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

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