BY BEVERLY BERNARDO
VANCOUVER - Chanting "NATO/Nazi! USA/Killers! CIA/Liars! CNN/Liars!" almost 200 people protested in front of the U.S. consulate here May 10. The demonstration was part of the worldwide reaction by Chinese people to the May 7 NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia.
The overwhelmingly Chinese crowd also waved Chinese flags, sang the Chinese national anthem, and chanted in Chinese, "Down with U.S. imperialism" - a chant that became very popular in China during the Korean War in the 1950s. Protesters also signed messages of condolence to send to the families of Ying Zhu, Xinghu Xu, and Yunhuan Shao - the three people confirmed dead in the bombing.
The attack on the embassy, located in a residential area of Belgrade, has been met with outrage and disbelief at Washington's claim that it was an accident because the CIA provided them with an outdated map.
As this Militant reporter spoke to a group of demonstrators, they all pointed to the U.S. consulate behind us saying, "Everyone knows where an embassy is. No one can believe the CIA." Many expressed anger at the lack of sincerity in President William Clinton's apology. "He says `I'm sorry,' and then he says it's [Yugoslav president Slobodan] Milosevic's fault!" said one protester who did not want to give his name.
"Prior to living here in Canada, I thought it was just propaganda by the Chinese regime that the news media was so controlled, but now I see things differently," said Haizi, a young worker.
"The protest could have been a lot bigger, but it was built spontaneously by individuals rather than by any organization," University of British Columbia student Ganxin Liu told the Militant.
Three thousand people protested in front of the U.S. consulate in Toronto May 9.
The biggest response has been in China itself, where hundreds of thousands of people poured into the streets. As a result of the bombing, Beijing has suspended high-level military contacts and "human rights" talks with Washington.
In the capital, Beijing, there have been daily demonstrations involving tens of thousands of people. Demonstrators have marched past the Canadian and German embassies. But protesters' anger is particularly focused on the British and U.S. embassies that have been pelted with rocks, bottles, and paint by students, workers, and others. Demonstrators have surrounded the U.S. embassy around the clock, making virtual hostages of the embassy staff. "It infuriates us that innocent Chinese were killed," said 26- year-old Diana Qu, a worker in a foreign-owned company, while waiting for police to let her and about 1,000 others take their turn in front of the embassy. Cuban diplomats joined in the action and were warmly welcomed by the crowd.
Anti-NATO actions have taken place in at least a dozen cities outside Beijing - from Shanghai on the eastern seaboard to Lanzhou in the far west. In Shanghai, China's business capital, police allowed protesters in small groups of 150 to 200 in the area surrounding the U.S. consulate. According to the official Chinese news agency Xinhua, more than 100,000 people marched in Guangzhou - 150 kilometers northwest of Hong Kong - chanting "Down with NATO!" as they marched past the U.S., British French, Italian, and Dutch consulates. "NATO has outrageously violated China's sovereignty" read one of the banners carried in this demonstration.
In Xían about 30,000 university students and 10,000 other residents held a march on May 8 shouting "We want peace," "Safeguard national sovereignty and dignity," and other slogans. Protests also took place in Chengdu, Shenyang, Nanjing, Xiamen, and Hangzhou. Actions have also been held outside a number of businesses owned by U.S. companies, including Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald's, and Goldman Sachs.
The wave of demonstrations protesting the NATO bombings, which are the largest since the pro-democracy actions that culminated in the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing almost exactly a decade ago, have involved hundreds of thousands of people. The Chinese government has begun to worry that the protests might get out of hand. On May 9 Vice President Hu went on television to both endorse the "keen patriotism" of the demonstrations, but also urge caution against "extremes."
"The Chinese government firmly supports and protects, in accordance with the law, all legal protest activities. But we must prevent overreaction and ensure social stability," said Hu.
Protests have also occurred throughout Asia including in Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, and Pakistan. In Latin America protests have also occurred in Peru, Argentina, and Cuba.
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