Impressed by Beijing's response to atrocity

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 May, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 May, 1999, 12:00am

I, like all Chinese, am in mourning after the death of my compatriots in the cowardly attack by the US-led Nato forces on Belgrade.

By attacking the Chinese Embassy, the alliance has effectively attacked the sovereign territory of China itself, and all Chinese must feel both angry and disgusted.

The measured response of the Government in Beijing does much credit to a country whose traditional love of peace is rooted in a long civilisation and a deep-seated feeling of patriotism.

However, I am concerned at the potential for over-reaction among the population in Hong Kong and in other, more backward parts of China. Two things concern me especially.

Firstly, by allowing demonstrations to take place, the Government runs the risk not only of encouraging dissent among its people, but also, more seriously, of sending out a dangerous message to any malcontents and other undesirable elements who would use the 10th anniversary of June 4 as a chance to seek confrontation with the Government. This could have the effect of undoing at a stroke the accrued benefits of a decade of economic growth and social stability.

Secondly, I have read from the Internet that some unscrupulous Western media are already misrepresenting the demonstrations, claiming they were organised by the Government and that security forces merely stood on the sidelines while property was attacked. Moreover, one newspaper has accused China of using this attack as an opportunity to 'capture the moral high ground', evidence, as it sees it, of a widespread inferiority complex.

China has made many friends through its measured response to this atrocity. Understandable though the public outcry is, the Government should act quickly to demonstrate that consensus is more effective than confrontation.

CHIN KAM-FAT Sha Tin There is a huge section of the population in the US that the news media have not focused on. I refer to the many people in the US who are deeply saddened by the mistaken bombing of China's embassy in Yugoslavia.

I have spent some time trying to find out how I can send an apology to the People's Republic of China. I hope this letter will suffice. I want the people of China to know that I and a great many other people here have a great respect for the Chinese people and for their history, culture, and the contribution they have made to mankind. I am deeply saddened by the loss of life and terrible injuries inflicted on the people in the embassy.

BOB FAIR St Petersburg, Florida, US The bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade was a disgraceful act.

The excuse of accidentally using an outdated map of Belgrade for the mission, is both laughable and clumsy and compares with the earlier killing of a number of tourists in northern Italy when a cable car route was not marked on the operations map.

The US and Britain should undertake a full investigation to find out the circumstances that led to this barbaric act. .

Y. LEE Pokfulam