coverage of the war in Iraq has been constant, repetitive and decidedly
pro-peace if not anti-American. CCTV has developed into a network
capable of broadcasting news from everywhere with the authority
of CNN. In fact, like most news networks across the globe, CCTV
has modeled their look, language, graphics, music etc. after the
every break in the action – which mostly entails clips of
British and American spokesmen detailing humanitarian aid and pinpoint
strikes, CCTV 9, the English language version, provides a slideshow
of crying Iraqi children and mothers, devastated landscapes, grim
faced US Marines and officials with dramatic, sorrowful music. The
panorama ends with the words, "Give Peace a Chance."
is nothing wrong with that at all. Any reader of any columns/editorials/stories
featured on this site might agree with the general message sent
by the CCTV reporters.
many countries around the world, China paraded experts and features
round-table debates criticizing the US military's performance: "Its
already been 6/10/13 days and they haven't taken Baghdad yet."
Not to mention the heroic resistance of the ragtag defenders of
the cities and sands of Iraq. There was even talk of an eventual
stalemate. Militarily, a stalemate is laughable. More likely is
a version of Israel's adventures in Lebanon. Especially after Jay
Garner and the Administration's close friends begin carving up Iraq's
resources in the name of an Arab Marshall Plan.
local newspapers and new broadcasts have delighted in painting the
American desire for war as an extension of Empire. The four reasons
for war given by Sichuan radio are:
Round-table discussions have focused on the US unilateral
approach, self-imposed isolation from the world, the European split
and the need for the US to dominate the routes and sources of Middle
At the same time, the effects of the war on China
have been minimized. The price hike gets lower with each passing
day that Baghdad remains "free" as does the percentage
of oil imported from Iraq, now down to 1%.
On the street, Chinese are extremely well informed
– for the most part – and also very interested. Since the war, every
conversation I get into seems to end up with Iraq as the main subject.
The taxi drivers always ask where I'm from, when I answer they say:
"Oh!, so you want to destroy Iraq, huh?"
"Americans like war, huh?"
gets old explaining the difference betwen individuals and nations;
me and Bush.
Consulate in Chengdu has been heavily guarded since March 20th.
Ironically, construction by Kellog, Brown and Root is reaching its
critical stage, with huge concrete "flower pots" out front,
a new surveillance post for the incoming Marines and a higher, thicker
the everpresent blue, corrugated walls that Chinese hide every construction
site with surrounding the Consulate, the only thing I see from my
office across the street are the dozens of submachine gun armed
Chinese policeman and the column of soldiers that march back and
forth chanting and looking self-conscious.
small protests have been staged in front of the Consulate, most
notably an older woman who held up a sign demanding "peace."
The police didn't really know what to do right away, as she was
alone and obviously harmless. Eventually, they took her downtown
and asked her dozens of questions. Since her demonstration did not
constitute a threat to Hu and Friends, she was let go with a warning.
Beijing, the police harassed protesters – first by changing
the time of their alloted time at the last minute, then by confining
them to the outskirts and keeping them away from the populace. Chinese
government officials are as scared of people getting together as
they are of SARS robbing them of their precious quarterly FDI growth.
So, lies are told about the sickness and mass gatherings are hindered.
human rights report published by the US also made headlines, via
a stiff rebuttal. Statistics on American crime and murder rates,
police brutality and single mothers were shown in between "Give
Peace a Chance" slideshows. The statistics concluded with a
"US double standards concerning human rights increases isolation."
Again, this message differs but slightly from many
messages coming from inside and outside of the US.
most important development of this war is the progress made by Chinese
news agenices – people on the ground in Iraq, on the spot
reports, feeds from the White House and the UN – and the response
of the Chinese people.
I mentioned to my roommate (a Chinese) that a letter from Osama
to the Iraqis was circulating, he demanded to know where, when and
what the letter contained. He knows how many miles the Marines are
from Baghdad, he knows about Halliburton and Cheney, he knows about
supply lines and Patriots and he is convinced that this war heralds
the end of American hegemony and the beginning of a new (presumably
East Asian) dynasty to be built on the ashes.
520 South Murphy Avenue, Suite #202
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
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is a teacher living and working in China. His articles have appeared
in the South China Morning Post, the Minnesota Daily,
and elsewhere. His exclusive Antiwar.com column (usually) appears
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