The Guardian May 16, 2001

From Yugoslavia to Geneva: Bombing anniversary

NATO bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, May 8, 1999. Three 
journalists, Shao Yunhuan, Xu Xinghu and Zhu Ying were torn apart by the 
bombs. More than 20 staff members were wounded. Xu Xinghu and Zhu Ying had 
just married. Washington claims the bombing was an error. Virtually 
everyone in China and Yugoslavia considers this a lie.

Editorial from People's Daily: Edited by Rick Rozoff and Jared 

Lake Leman woos me with its crystal face, The mirror where the stars and 
mountains view The stillness of their aspect in each trace Its clear depth 
yields of their far height and hue..."(

Those lines were written by the poet, Lord Byron, when he toured Leman 
Lake, also called Lake Geneva.

This March and April, I was in Geneva reporting on the UN Human Rights 
Commission session (UNHRC). The same period two years ago, I experienced 
and reported a war in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

It was today, May 8, two years ago, that US-led NATO aircraft savagely 
bombed a small country.

The same time this year, the United States took the field without hiding 
behind NATO. At the Geneva human rights session, it attacked the developing 
countries, picking faults right and left.

On May 8 1999, US missiles attacked the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia, 
murdering three Chinese journalists and injuring more than 20 staff 
members. To this day, the wounds of the Chinese people have not healed. At 
the human rights session the United States again waved its big "human 
rights" stick at China.

As an ordinary journalist, I have not yet made a profound analysis of the 
view, fashionable in certain circles, that "human rights stands above 
sovereignty". My intuition tells me: This obviously means "might is right".

Yugoslavia to Geneva: This is a war in the same strain, whether with or 
without the smoke of gunpowder. The United States wants to achieve one aim: 
to clear the obstacles to worldwide rule by the United States.

Things that took place two years ago are not so far from us today.

I remember one night when NATO bombed Yugoslavia. A Yugoslav driver was 
taking us back to our station. When NATO aircraft rumbled past, the driver 
leaned out the car window, waved his fist at the sky and cried, "You horde 
of cowards! Come down and fight us on the ground if you have the guts. 
We'll floor you three to one, with punishment."

US-led NATO, however, finally subdued the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by 
continuous air attacks, not through ground battle. The aggressors, as if 
playing video games, selected targets on a computer screen, pressed buttons 
and destroyed Yugoslav factories, bridges, railways and highways, one by 
one, calm, unhurried.

When the brave yet desperate Yugoslav people left the air-raid shelters, 
and defended bridges, factories and television stations against NATO 
bombing with their bodies I, as a foreign reporter, saw this heroism and 
wanted to cry. But I had no tears.

I remember the words said by Javier Solana, then Secretary-General of NATO: 
If Yugoslavia does not submit to our will, we will peal its skin as we 
would a rabbit, until it is dead.

The elated victors really got a swelled head. On May 8, 1999, they extended 
their evil hands to the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia.

Although China is far from Yugoslavia and is separated from the United 
States by half the globe; and though there are various international laws 
and international rules, they still put their hands to it. Is this because, 
in their ideology, China is no more than Yugoslavia, enlarged?

The Kosovo flames of war left us so many things to ponder.

Two years have elapsed. The United States has forgotten it owes the Chinese 
people a debt of blood, and that it ravaged the innocent people of 

On the UN human rights rostrum this year, it again taught the people of 
China and other developing countries a lesson. In its posture of Supreme 
Human Rights Guardian the US applied strong political and economic pressure 
on members of the Human Rights Commission, demanding that they submit and 
pass an anti-China motion.

The US dared do this because it thought it would succeed. Assistant United 
States Secretary of State, Harold Koh, once openly said: In the world 
today, there is nothing the United States cannot accomplish if it wishes.

Nothing? Then what about this fact, that the anti-China motion was defeated 
this year, for the 10th time?

China does not fear any threat. If the opposite side chooses confrontation, 
we would take it to the very end. Don't slight the trial of strength at the 
human rights session. US arrogance, swollen after the Kosovo war, has been 
continually frustrated in Geneva.

The battles fought at the human rights sessions these past two years have 
boosted the morale of the Chinese people and other developing countries.

When representatives of various countries vied to come over to the seat of 
the Chinese delegation, shook hands and embraced the Chinese 
representative, when the US representative walked away, accompanied only by 
his briefcase, I felt the strength of justice.

This year's human rights session has concluded. As we were about to leave 
Geneva news came that the United States had lost its seat on the UN Human 
Rights Commission. Uncle Sam, who had ordered people around there for 
dozens of years, had been forced off stage.

Once again I walk along the banks of Lake Geneva. On one side, blue water, 
azure sky. Swans and wild ducks play in the water. Distant mountains 
undulate in sunshine. Snow gleams white.

On the other side, the grass is a carpet of flowers with here and there the 
homes of great intellectuals from the past. Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake plays. 
Beautiful melodies drift between mountains and rivers.

Perhaps it is the music that causes me to recall: a photo. Two newly wed 
youngsters, both journalists, laughing in the bright, beautiful sunshine. 
In their hands, blue birds ready to fly. For it was at this time, in this 
place and amidst these beautiful melodies that Xu Xinghu and Zhu Ying left 
Geneva two years ago for our Embassy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Is it a coincidence? Geneva to Yugoslavia.

Perhaps it is the music. I listen to Swan Lake and see the photograph in my 
mind's eye. Two newly wed youngsters.

I think: If only the story of Prince and Princess Odette had not been 
rewritten by persons of evil character.

* * *
FURTHER READING: 1. A sharp look at the news coverage just after the Chinese Embassy bombing in 1999 suggests a cover story, badly prepared. See Lies, Damn Lies & Maps by Jared Israel at 2. In August, 1998, the US launched a massive missile attack on a pill factory in Sudan. This crime has never been punished. The US was asked to show independent investigators its "evidence" that this factory was making nerve gas. "I don't see what the purpose of a fact-finding study would be", Peter Burleigh, the deputy American representative to the UN said after the meeting. "We have credible information that fully justifies the strike we made on that one facility in Khartoum." (N.Y. Times, August 25, 1998) For an analysis of how the leading US newspaper, The New York Times, fed its readers a completely false view of the bombing, see Credible Deception: The "Times" and the Sudan missile attack at

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