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About Arafat

[Editor’note: After the death of Arafat — the Palestinian President, major Chinese newspapers widely reported the news with lengthy feature articles. Xinhuanet, the official website of xinhua news agency, the Chinese government news agency, published on November 12, 2004, a report that quoted Chinese President Hu Jintao in his condolence letter. Hu said that president Arafat made great contributions to consolidating and developing the friendship between the two nations.  Arafat’s passing away is not only a great loss for Palestinians, but Chinese people also lost a great friend.  The following contains excerpts from this and other feature articles related to this topic.]

Arafat’s Life and His Death Equally Influence the World

Source: Xinhuanet, November 12, 2004

On November 12, the news of the death of Arafat made the headline on the front pages of all the China’s major government-sponsored newspapers, such as People’s Daily, Xinhua Daily News, Guangming Daily, etc. Other headline news include Chinese President Hu Jintao’s letter of condolences to Rawhi Fattuh, speaker of the Palestine Legislative Council, on the death of Yasser Arafat, as well as Chinese Vice-President Zeng Qinghong’s visit to the Palestinian Embassy in Beijing to personally express his condolences. In his letter of condolences, President Hu said that Arafat had dedicated his whole life to support the just cause of regaining the lawful rights of the Palestinian people. Arafat received profound respect and support among the Palestinian people as well as in the international community.

All the major media sources published in-depth articles on Arafat’s life, and his achievements. Each country’s reaction to his death, as well as articles of mourning were also reported. Several pages were used to feature over-sized pictures of Arafat. The scenes of Palestinians expressing great sorrow in mourning the death of their leader are also featured. In an article entitled “A Hero Completes His Path of Life” published in the column of the “First Scene” in The People’s Daily, it stated that Arafat’s health condition “affected people throughout the world”. The China Youth Daily published a special article entitled “Arafat left a name that cannot be substituted”. In the article, it says “although Arafat is the only head of the state without a mandated “state” currently in the world, yet the kaffiyeh — a symbol representing that “state” — is worn on top of his head day and night”. “What Arafat left for the world were not only the annals of the Palestine’s history, but also a kind of spirit”, the article expressed.

Upon hearing the news of Arafat’s passing, many residents in Beijing went on their own initiative to the Palestinian Embassy in Beijing, to offer flowers and extend their condolences. According to a report in The Beijing News today, among the visitors to the the Palestinian Embassy were Palestinian students in Beijing, students from Beijing’s universities, and ambassadors of some countries. One Chinese visitor wrote “Forever Arafat, Forever peace” on a postcard. “He was a strong person who struggled for his dream for so many years: I admire him very much”, said Gao Yang, an employee of the Beijing Long-distance Telephone Bureau.

Beijing Daily, Beijing News and Beijing Times all set up a special page on the theme of “Arafat and China”, and published pictures of dialogues between Chinese leaders and Arafat. The Workers’ Daily and Beijing Morning Post published a picture which shows a Beijing resident, Chi, holding a candle to mourn for Arafat in front of the Palestinian Embassy at 6 pm, on November 11. Chi said, “Arafat is a hero in my heart.” Under the light yellow candlelight, his expression was exceptionally sad.

The major Chinese media sources have also  provided analytical coverage on the situation in the Middle East following the death of Arafat. For example, several media, including The Guangming Daily and The Beijing Times, published an analytical news article from Xinhua News Agency, which entitled “There is Still a Long Way to Go for Palestine-Israe Peace.” According to an article from The Xinhua Daily News, Arafat’s passing left an endless uncertainty for the solution of the Palestine-Israel issue. “It is difficult for Palestine and Israel to release their past hatred toward each other in a short term with lacking tolerance and trust”, the article stated.

Arafat: A Good Friend of Chinese People

Source: Xinhuanet, November 12, 2004

Arafat and the Palestinian people are good friends of the Chinese people. The Chinese people have always had a profound and sincere friendship toward the Palestinian people. We consistently and resolutely support the Palestinian people’s effort and struggle for restoring their nation’s rights by law. In May 1965, the PLO established its office in Beijing, enjoying diplomatic privileges. On November 20, 1988, China announced its recognition of the state of Palestine, and both countries established diplomatic relations. In December of the same year, the PLO’s office in Beijing changed its name to the Embassy of Palestine in China.

From his first visit to China in 1964 to August 2001, Arafat visited China 14 times. “The model of our mutual trust and support has lasted for several decades. Our friendship will be everlasting”, expressed Deng Xiaoping, speaking as the chairman of the central military commission, at the meeting with visiting President Arafat on October 5, 1989. During April 15 to April 16, 2000, Chinese President Jiang Zemin, made a state visit to Palestine at the invitation of Arafat. This was the first time that a Chinese President visited Palestine. President Jiang and President Arafat had a warm and friendly discussion.

Prior to his visit to China, Arafat addressed the status of Palestine-China relations in July1998: “The Palestinian people will never forget the great Chinese people, and the great Chinese leaders of Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin, who uphold the just cause of Palestine’s struggle. We are proud of the friendship between Palestine and China, which is as splendid as the sunshine”.

What Would We Say to the Passed-away Arafat

Source: Xinhuanet, November 12, 2004

[Editor’s note: Xinhuanet opened a forum on its website for readers to post their messages under the tiltle above. ]

According to a report from Al-Jazeera TV, 75-year-old Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian National Authority, passed away in Paris due to illness. This old man dedicated his entire life to his nation and its people. After his death, many Internet surfers used their own words to express great respect for him.

The following are all the messages posted in the first page:

1. A kind old man, a strong warrior, an envoy of peace and the giant of the Palestinian nation is gone. But his glory and his contribution to Palestine will exist forever!

2. Since childhood I have known of a warrior wearing a kaffiyeh. His name was Arafat. The meaning of life is to struggle for one’s goal. Now, the Arabic nations have lost a hero, but the spirits of endless life and struggle that he left is the precious treasure of human society.

3. Yasser Arafat—a great leader of the Palestinian people. You were a friend of the Chinese people. You were a brave warrior who maintained world peace. When the enemy used airplanes, missiles and artilleries to attack your beloved country, you led your people to resist the violence of the strong power fearlessly, to use home-made ammunition/stone and human body sacrifices/car bombs as weapons to attack the enemy, and protect the dignity of the nation. Salutations to you, the great Yasser Arafat, and the great nation of the Arabic people, who have raised and educated you.

4. My father is a few years older than Arafat. On one occasion when we were watching TV and Arafat was shown, my father said, “When I was young, I heard that Arafat was struggling. He had been struggling for decades. I am old now, and he is still struggling.” Those words are still ringing in my ears, but things and people have changed. Salute to Mr. Arafat, who had struggled bravely in his entire life!

5. His glorious name and his efforts for the liberation of Palestine will be remembered forever.

6. Here a national hero has collapsed. He raised the flag of resistance. He never yielded. Under the enemy’s cannon fire or in the midst of ruins after enemy bombings, he talked and laughed as though nothing had happened. For his dream, the just cause of the liberation of his nation, and for the grave suffering endured by the Palestinian people, he held firmly to his faith, and did his best, unto death.

7. He was a great warrior. If nobody cared enough to curse him, how could he be considered great?

8. I believe that peace in the Middle East will come true one day. The liberation of the Palestinian people will succeed one day. The peoples of Palestine and Israel will peacefully live together one day. I will remember you forever, Arafat.

9. An everlasting warrior. A historic milestone.

10. He was in a long-term siege and under house arrest. He has struggled for the Palestinian people until the end of his life.

11. For the good of the people and country, he is the greatest hero of heroes. He will go down in history and leave a good name forever.

12. A good son of the Palestinian people who was adaptable and unswerving! A good son of the Palestinian people who was adaptable and unswerving!