On July 7, 2005, London was targeted by two series of terrorist bombings that killed 56 people and injured many more. While most people from all corners of the world condemned the attacks and expressed their sympathy for the victims, the majority of contributors to a Chinese Web forum openly applauded the tragedy.
On Sina and Sohu, two of the biggest Chinese news websites, comments with extreme nationalist views overwhelmed the forum chat boards during the days following the attacks. If the messages had not been in Chinese, the website might have been mistaken for the official Al-Qaeda website.
The following are typical:
1.Great bombing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Repay blood debts with blood!!! That’s right!
2. The death toll is too small!
3. Bin Laden, you are truly good!! We are so proud of you! Keep going! We support you! Bomb the White House and kill Bush!
4. Bush and Blair are the No.1 terrorists in the world!
5. I don’t sympathize with the British. Invaders are not worthy of sympathy.
6. Support Iraq, support Afghanistan; support all people living under oppression!!!! Would there be such bombings if the U.S. and British governments hadn’t openly invaded other countries?????? It’s justified!
7. Why didn’t they bomb Japan?!!! I hope to see a Chinese branch of Al Qaeda deliver a masterpiece in Japan….
8. The aggressive U.S. and British people selected aggressive presidents! Those two often act in collusion to pick on the weak. This should be avenged! The United States and England are the real Axis of Evil! If it weren’t for their invasions, no innocent civilians would have died in Afghanistan or Iraq or even the Balkans! So the United States and Britain should reflect on this!
9. Terrorism is the only way for the weak to fight back against the strong. No matter what reasons they may have, the U.S.-British attack on the people of Iraq was wrong and constitutes blatant terrorism. All the weak can do in response is to bring you down with them.
10. I hope another 9.11 occurs in the United States. The United States should be the most condemned in the world. It is the center of the "evil axis" and should be dealt with violently.
11. In the Western world, the people choose the government. Naturally, if the government does something wrong and angers someone else, the people will have to accept the outcome of its government’s behavior. I have no sympathy for the English voters who died, only for those who didn’t vote!
Among about 300 entries on the Sina Net Forum, about 70 percent of the comments expressed similar hate-filled views toward the United States and Great Britain.
This is not the first time that Chinese have expressed such extreme views. When 9-11 occurred, many young Chinese celebrated the carnage. An article carried in the International Herald Tribune reported, "’It was night. Most people were going to sleep—but as the news spread, people came out to dance and cheer,’ says Janice Wu, 28, a hotel manager. ‘They were screaming and lighting firecrackers—it was like a big party.’"
The Internet forums turned into a place for the Fen-Qing (angry youths) to vent their hatred. The majority of the messages carried extremely nationalistic sentiments. If the views expressed online are any indication, then large numbers of Chinese are hostile toward the United States and Britain.
What is the explanation for such callousness among these young Chinese? Jiao Giobiao, a professor of journalism from Beijing University, commented, "The Chinese people no longer have any humanitarian values… (For) most people in China—or at least in the eyes of a large number of people—people don’t count for much. It has been a long time that people don’t treat each other as humans. What’s the big deal about people dying?… If Chinese people die, it is no big deal. If Americans die, it means even less."
According to Professor Jiao, "In China, humanistic values and humanitarianism have declined for too long. Why was there such an explosion of feelings with the incident in America? For too long, the media demonized America. … because America is the most democratic of all countries and it will combat dictators everywhere. All the totalitarian governments of the world control their media and they are hostile toward America because it is their biggest enemy."
Cong Rong, a columnist for Chinese publications, said, "While the Chinese people are not inherently hateful, 50 years of brainwashing with hate-filled communist propaganda and the absence of uncensored news has totally distorted both the minds of the Chinese people and their picture of the outside world."
Hongyi Pan is a freelance writer based in Houston.