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Air incident sparks China chat attack

Chinese newspapers
National outrage splashes across Chinese media  

HONG KONG, China (CNN) -- China's state media and online chatrooms have launched a nationalistic attack on the U.S. over the collision of military aircraft from both countries.

Most Chinese learned of the drama on popular websites such as the People's Daily and on Monday; some say they spotted the reports on some English-language sites.

An Internet manager in Beijing told CNN that her colleagues were "furious" at the U.S. for failing to mention a word on the missing Chinese pilot.

Beijing's top official outlet, the People's Daily, devoted one fifth of its homepage headlines to issues about the U.S. military.

A report demanding U.S. compensation was headlined "Net friends: Look at American hegemonism from the incident that U.S. plane crashed our military jet".

"We can use this as a bargaining chip in our Olympic campaign. But better we negotiate with the States after the voting on the Olympics," said a net user.

The net users also condemn U.S. "nonchalance" over the missing Chinese pilot and praised the pilot's "heroism". "From this, we can tell how serious U.S. hegemony has gone. Thank you, our motherland's heroic pilot!" one net user says.

The newspaper's popular chatroom, Strong Nation Forum, has set up a special topic for discussions: "The incident of U.S. war plane crashing our military aircraft".

Many subscribers immediately compare the incident with the diplomatic row over the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999.

"Now the wok is boiling again!" cheers one net user named "Nothing-to-say".

Another net user named "Self Strong" writes: "The old scar hasn't heeled, (sic) now a new scar!"

Most net users condemn American "imperialism" and cite Chinese patriotism. And many offer tips on how to deal with the States and drum up Chinese military might.

"This (U.S. plane) is like a pizza delivered to our door. Our military scientists must be really happy," cheers one net user.

Net surfers offer a long list of counter-measures: withdraw China's ambassador to the U.S.; protest outside the U.S. embassy; put Chinese defense forces on full alert; kill or jail the U.S. pilots; play the victim in the international community; assassinate U.S. president George W. Bush.

Many suggest send military experts to conduct "anatomy" of the plane and then blow it up. "For the world peace, we must CLONE the enemy plane," one net user suggests.

Another net subscriber calls for George W. Bush to make a special trip to China to collect American crew.

"It's time for the Chinese people to show little Bush some color," says the message.

"Get ready, Chinese people! Protect our motherland. Beat down American imperialists!" calls on one subscriber on

But a few point out disastrous consequences if Beijing manipulates the situation.

"It's very easy to incite extreme nationalism in China. If the government controls it, the result will be unimaginable," one net user on warns.

Another dares to suggest that the incident was a test of China's human rights and democracy: "This U.S. airplane was sending us human rights flowers and was coming to look for a match of democracy and freedom."

Some people call for humanitarian treatment of the American soldiers, while a few shed light on China's defense forces.

A net user named "Godfather" on posted a lengthy analysis of "severe problems" in China's military, pointing out corruption as the major area for reforms.

The Internet has become a powerful and popular channel for both the government and ordignary Chinese to hear and to be heard.

The official Xinhua News Agency announced on Monday that one of its on-staff international affairs analysts would host an online chat on the agency's site about the incident's impact on Sino-U.S. relations.

A Chinese official survey released in January 2001 showed 22.5 million Chinese used the Internet at that time.

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People's Daily
Xinhua News Agency

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