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China Hails bin Laden Death, Defends Pakistan

  • Stephanie Ho

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu responds to questions during a press briefing in Beijing (file photo)

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu responds to questions during a press briefing in Beijing (file photo)

China is praising the death of Osama bin Laden and defending its ally Pakistan against accusations that it did little to find the al Qaida leader. But the reaction among local residents was mixed.

The Chinese government early Tuesday issued a statement calling Osama bin Laden’s death a major event and a positive development in the international struggle against terrorism.

At the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s regular briefing, spokeswoman Jiang Yu called terrorism the public enemy of the international community.

She said China has always been against any form of terrorism and actively participates in global anti-terrorist efforts.

Jiang told reporters China also has been the victim of numerous terrorist activities, although she gave no details. The Chinese government in recent years has justified crackdowns in its Muslim-majority western Xinjiang region by saying they were aimed at countering terrorist networks.

Jiang Tuesday did not directly answer a question about whether Beijing sees a greater terrorist threat coming from inside or outside of the country.

The foreign ministry spokeswoman also said China stands firmly behind Pakistan.

Jiang said China believes Pakistan’s government is firmly resolved and strongly active in its fight against terrorism and has made important contributions to international anti-terrorist efforts.

In Beijing, Chinese people had mixed feelings about bin Laden’s death. Some, like this man who refused to give his name, welcomed the news.

He said he thinks it is a good thing, because if there are fewer terrorists, then there will be more peace. And he said peace is what ordinary people like him want.

Mr. Li, a businessman, had a different opinion. He said that in his Chinese way of thinking, no one is absolutely right or wrong - including bin Laden and the United States.

He said if the United States sets itself up as the world’s policeman, it is only natural that people in other countries will want to target the United States.

Chinese activists outside of the country were skeptical of the government’s positive reaction to bin Laden’s death. Bob Fu is with ChinaAid, a group that monitors the treatment of Christians in China.

"I don’t think the Chinese government really cares about whether bin Laden [is] dead or alive," Fu noted. "Actually, I would think the Chinese top leaders’ mentality is they want to see him alive, so that the U.S. could be busy handling al Qaida and bin Laden’s group and not to put so much focus on the Chinese."

Fu said he thinks the Chinese government is worried more about domestic stability, rather than external terrorist threats.