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No, the CCP Has Not Forgotten How the US Bombed the Chinese Embassy in 1999
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I’ve got an article up on Asia Times, Chinese embassy bombing: Xi sends message by honoring martyrs in Belgrade. It uses Xi Jinping’s attendance at a wreath-laying ceremony in Belgrade and the appearance of US electronic warfare planes in the Philippines to weave together a story of the technological competition between the US and PRC concerning stealth aircraft in an unexpected and interesting way.

My article unpacks the ins and outs of the stealthwars between the PRC & US, and the fact that, judging by US activities, pure stealth now only lives in the realm of myth and legend. Real-world stealth needs some help.

The story is a bit trolly, in that it’s going up just before the UNCLOS Arbitration Tribunal announces its decision on the Philippines Nine-Dash-Line case.

SCS hawks are much enamored of a victim narrative in which everything was going so well until nasty old China decided to mess with the South China Sea in 2010.

Actually, US-PRC contention starts more than ten years before that, when the US bombed the PRC Embassy in Belgrade during the Yugoslav War, supposedly by accident, killing at least three PRC citizens (announced; more fatalities have been rumored) and occasioning the wreath-laying ceremony that Xi attended.

In 1999, the U.S. was still basking in the 1989 democracy movement afterglow and believed it enjoyed the special trust and confidence of the Chinese people. When Chinese blowback from the embassy bombing instead turned out to be a measure of popular anger, the US blamed it on the fact that the CCP had withheld news of President Clinton’s apology from the Chinese people. This does not seem to have been the case, but it did not stop displays of US resentment at the PRC’s churlish inability to accept our explanation and expressions of remorse.

Via a paper by researcher, Peter Gries, I came on a report on the response of Tom DeLay, the Republican whip in the House of Representatives, to what he considered to be self-interested CCP carping:

I was on Meet the Press…right after the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Kosovo [he meant Belgrade], and the [Chinese] ambassador was on before me. And if you remember, he’s kind of an obnoxious fellow and he’s screaming and yelling about how bad the Americans were, and I had had it up to about here. So he’s coming off the stage and I’m going onto the stage and I intentionally walked up to him and blocked his way…I grabbed [his] hand and squeezed it as hard as I could and pulled him a kind of little jerk like this and I said: “Don’t take the weakness of this president as the weakness of the American people”. And he looked at me kind of funny, so I pulled him real close, nose to nose, and I repeated it very slowly, and said, “Do-not-take-the-weakness-of this president as the weakness of the American people”.

Li Zhaoxing, by the way, went on to become the PRC’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. And the legacy of the embassy bombing, which occurred under “President Weakness”, probably contributes to shaping PRC attitudes toward the widely anticipated incoming president, Hillary Clinton, and her own attitudes toward China.

It’s a matter of self-interest for pivoteers to poo-poo the idea that we started it, and dismiss the possibility that friction in the South China Sea is perhaps a consequence of a US air raid on a Chinese embassy way back when. But the record makes for awkward reading.

It should be noted that references, such as one by CCTV to a “NATO” bombing in the embedded video, are incorrect. It was not a NATO mission, though the air war was supposedly a NATO project. The operation that produced the embassy bombing was one of a small number of activities run by the US outside of NATO channels.

A U.S. show all the way from Whiteman Air Force Base in Kansas, in other words.

The evidence supporting the case that the bombing was an intentional US attack on the PRC is rather robust, including a clutch of investigative reporting carried out at the time by the Sunday Observer & Denmark’s Politiken.

And one thing that really didn’t help was the US admission that the CIA only packaged one mission in the Yugoslavia war—the one that happened to gut the Chinese embassy.

According to the July 23, 1999 New York Times:

“It was the only target we nominated,” the director, George Tenet, said at a rare public hearing of the House Intelligence Committee.

After the strike on May 7, which killed three Chinese and wounded at least 20 others, the CIA decided it better go back to its usual business of spying, a U.S. official said Thursday. Reeling from its error, the agency almost immediately suspended other preparations it was making to forward additional targets to help NATO.

The incident was a tremendous shock/wakeup call for the CCP, and triggered a crash PRC program to counter and if possible match the US in key military technology, not just stealth but also infowar, command & control, etc. “Etc.” also includes GPS—the US used GPS-guided bombs in the mission that hit the PRC embassy–and it’s fitting that this week also saw the announcement that the PRC launched its 23rd GPS satellite in its drive for a global system, eventually to include 35 satellites, scheduled for completion in 2020.

As to speculated motives for the bombing, well it gets pretty interesting. Read the AT story for an overview. (Teaser!)

Well, here’s a hint. It’s got to do with the tremendous shock/wakeup that America got when one of its stealth aircraft got shot down during the Yugoslav war.

Serbian_poster_'Sorry_we_didn't_know_it_was_invisible'

Retailing the Belgrade bombing story has become something of a cottage industry for me. I’ve covered the event in four lengthy, facty posts on China Matters…

/plee/chinas-j20-stealth-fighter-made-in-america-via-belgrade/

/plee/why-china-hates-satellite-guided-munitions-part-1-the-bombing-of-the-chinese-embassy-in-belgrade-in-1999/

/plee/how-it-all-began-the-belgrade-embassy-bombing/

/plee/the-belgrade-bombing-the-f-117-cake-and-the-tears-of-premier-zhu-rongji/

(Republished from China Matters by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. Priss Factor [AKA "Anonymny"] says:

    But Peter Flea, Chinee forget CCP kill 1000 Chinee in Tianamen Square.

    And Chinee forget CCP under Mao kill 50 million Chinee in Great Leap Backward and Cultural Revolution.

    • Replies: @denk
  2. gruff says:

    The US bombed the Chinese embassy because it was passing intelligence to the Serbs.

    • Replies: @denk
  3. “… all the way from Whiteman Air Force Base in Kansas ….”

    FYI, Whiteman AFB is in Missouri.

  4. Svigor says:

    The US bombed the Chinese embassy because it was passing intelligence to the Serbs.

    My normal position is to not care that we bombed a Chinese embassy, but this makes me sympathetic.

    • Replies: @mtn cur
  5. I thought the usual trolls would have buried the comments section by now. I am surprised by the tiny number :)

  6. […] “No, the CCP Has Not Forgotten How the US Bombed the Chinese Embassy in 1999″  Tom DeLay channeling the ghost of LBJ! […]

  7. denk says:
    @Priss Factor

    another ‘kept in the dark and fed bushit all day’ …mushroom.
    pathetic !

    • Replies: @Quartermaster
  8. denk says:
    @gruff

    murkkan high command ordered pilots to attack civilians , hospitals, markets, residence etc., such communications were monitored by the chinese listening post.
    assholes in washington were afraid their barbarity would be exposed so they ordered the embassy destroyed.

    • Replies: @El Dato
  9. @denk

    Anonymny didn’t post anything false. If truth is BS or pathetic, then your BS is far, far worse. The Embassy bombing is part of how the international game is played. China stuck its nose in. That it got burned in the process, and then whined about it, is indicative of how naïve they were. While they may have awakened a bit, their actions in the West Philippine Sea is another indication that they still don’t understand how the game is played. The Chinks are vulnerable in ways they have never considered.

  10. @Quartermaster

    “The Chinks are vulnerable in ways they have never considered.”

    Yeah, but since the new standard for letting the nukes fly is something as minor as hacking a computer network, the sauce for the gander principle is in play, and don’t forget that Bill Clinton’s friends at Loral sold them the guidance technology to ensure their aim is true.

  11. mtn cur says:
    @Svigor

    What! Do you mean the idiots did not bomb the embassy out of sheer stupidity?

  12. Svigor says:

    The CCCP has, however, forgotten where they put the “600 year old book that proves Chinese sovereignty over the South China Sea.”

  13. 5371 says:
    @Quartermaster

    I think I prefer you as demented prophecy buff, rather than just drooling moron.

  14. denk says:
    @Quartermaster

    can mr anon substantiate it ?
    [he's too modest, the murkkan presstitudes claimed china 'massacred several thousands in tam', mao 'murdred 20/30........60/70m, too many versions, take your pick!!]
    may be mr anon has some new scoop to share to debunk msm bs,
    hehehehe

    waco is real, kent state trooper massacred unarmed students is real, murkkans bombing civilians in exyugo, iraq, afpak is real, all well doucmented.
    u need proof ?
    according to anon’s [3] own logic, should china bomb murkkan embassy ??

    *China stuck its nose in,
    …………………..
    their actions in the West Philippine Sea is another indication that they still don’t understand how the game is played.*

    u’ve got fucking cheek.
    that ex yugo ‘caper’ is another naked aggression under false pretext. [1]
    supreme international crime as per the neuremberg trial.
    u were the one sticking your fucking nose in there, just like in iraq, libya, syria, china, ..

    and scs.
    there were disputes, people were talking, no big deal.
    but the ‘world cop’ [2] just gotta stick his fucking nose in, riled up the water, sabotaged the talks. hey presto, uncle sham just got ‘dragged into’ another made in usa crisis, screaming and kicking!

    to hell with your god damed war games, great games.
    dropping bombs on civilians is just a game, drone jockeys sitting at their console sending hell fire on a wedding party is so dandy.
    the world is tired of your fucking games, go back to where u belong …and stay there.
    [4]

    [1]

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article20525.htm

    [2]
    read pro arsonist, no fire, no income. !

    [3]
    he’s too ashamed to use his old moniker after the last thrashing from me.

    [4]

    https://www.rt.com/news/347325-okinawa-protest-us-military/

    • Replies: @prosecutemax
  15. @mtn cur

    Well…considering it was the Air Force running that particular shindig…

  16. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Mr. Peter Lee,

    I think the philosophical, historical, psychological difference between the USA and China is so wide that they can’t really comprehend each other.

    Yes, all very large countries enjoy being empire-like powerful, but there is a substantial difference that stems from centuries and centuries ago and the philosophical mindset of the West and the East: Greek philosophy and the monotheistic religions for the West, and then the Enlightment; Confucianism for China (now that they are finally past their communistic tragedy).

    Western will-to-power is indefinite: no accomplishment may stop it, because there is no limit to its ambition.
    The Chinese mind has definite, specific achievements; it’s a philosophy that knows satisfaction: for it satisfaction comes from fulfilling plans, and reaching goals. Definite, and finite plans and goals.

    This is why Chinese wishes to “make deals” and agreements that are beneficial for both them and the USA are going to be frustrated. There is no compromise that is going to work. “There is room in the world for only one power” is the Western, and today that Europe is no more relevant the USA’s, creed.

  17. El Dato says:
    @denk

    > “Do-not-take-the-weakness-of this president as the weakness of the American people”

    These diplomats have amazing restraint. If a grunting gorilla bent on domination came into my personal space like that there would be problems. “Medevac the american gentleman, please!”

    • Replies: @denk
  18. anon • Disclaimer says:

    America had no right to attack Serbia in 1999. Serbia had not attacked America or any American ally. Nor had Serbia threatened to do so. Just another evil act of the empire now dropped down the memory hole.

  19. denk says:
    @El Dato

    must confess i didnt really read the article cuz i thought i already knew all there’s to it.
    i had to go back to see what u mean.

    this jerk tom delay called the chinese ambassador ‘obnoxious’ ?
    he ought to look into the mirror !
    he was picking on someone half his size.
    sobs are too used to dishing it out to others without consequences.

    they poke u in the eyes and if u dare to hit back, it prove your belligerence.
    like when they invaded vn and killed millions, the nyt whined that ‘those are shit people, they shoot at americans !’
    classic psychopathic behaviour.

    if clinton the war criminal was ‘weak’, wait till
    killary ‘i came, i saw, he died’ clinton take over from obomber.

  20. Kiza says:

    Probably the funniest and the most US-style idiotic is that they actually expected the Chinese to say: oh thank you for the apology, sorry we bothered you when you bombed our territory (the embassy) and killed our people, t’was an honest mistake. On top of this funny US idiocy comes a very special US-DeLayness of abusing the Chinese ambassador who did not meekly accept the US-Bull-manure-apology. That was truly a historic moment for a nation which pretended to be the shining beacon on the hill. I hope the history will remember it as the best example of what US was (this is why Peter keeps repeating it in his articles).

    Now, as I have written to Peter many times and he accepted, but does not want to state it so openly, this is what really transpired.

    The US just cleaned Soviet Union out of Europe, the part which SU liberated from the Nazis and then kept as its buffer zone to a possible Western aggression. The US was under a huge dose of the end-of-history crack cocaine exuberance. Destroying Serbia was a kind of the last clean up job to do to become the Master of Europe, which it is to this day. The Serbians went to Russia and got almost nothing, then they went to China. China in 1999 was just rising out of poverty, it looked nothing like the China of today. Serbia was meant to be a spring-board for the Chinese traders into the glorified European market (remember also that the Chinese history in the SCS was very much about trade with North Africa and Europe). Serbia was a desired lilypad for the Chinese trade. But, the last thing the US would permit is the Chinese getting into the temporary vacuum that their win over SU created. This is how the Chinese embassy in Belgrade became the target – “the message of the bombing was: go home Chinamen, there is only death for you in my patch”. Later, the US changed the government of Serbia through a color revolution and the Chinese got kicked out of Serbia, leaving a small Serbian-speaking population of market traders in Belgrade.

    In an irony of the situation, to get Serbia to officially and fully accept separation of Kosovo from Serbia, the US and its EU puppets have been dangling the carrot of EU membership and Western investment in front of the pro-Western-regime Serbian donkey/ass for too long. The donkey is close to death and desperate. Thus Xi’s visit to Belgrade is essentially a revival of the Serbia as a lilypad into Europe, because Xi stayed three days in Serbia which is unprecedented. Add Brexit and the possible dissolution of the EU carrot to Serbia and the situation is absolutely hilarious – the West only takes from Serbia and can give little or nothing in return, whilst China is an opposite. Even the pro-Western Serbian donkey is now waking up to this reality, starting to comprehend that there is no carrot in the West only a whip. It will be amazing how the Western donkey managers will be able to keep the Serbian donkey on the leash. They are now rushing Kosovo’s “independence”.

    • Replies: @Avery
  21. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The US-NATO also targeted and bombed a civilian television station in Belgrade killing sixteen and wounding another sixteen during the same period, the victims having been dismembered and just hanging there for the rescuers to come in and try to do what they could. Bombing civilians is a war crime yet the perpetrators just go on to better paying positions. Other civilian targets were bombed in what was really a campaign of terrorism from the skies. This is all down the memory hole assuming anybody really bothered to look beyond the hype at the time. America was aghast at the death of nearly three thousand people on 9-11 and rightly so, as they should have been at the spectacle of all those people dying in such an ugly way. Yet there’s a blind spot where few think about the horrifying death inflicted by America’s bombing of other people elsewhere. They don’t like seeing their friends and family incinerated by American bombs and face it, the US has caused many more deaths overseas than it’s received by a wide margin. Yet they ‘hate us for our freedoms’, some true Bushian mind-rot that some seem to have bought into. Yes, winning hearts and minds all over the world one bomb at a time.

  22. Avery says:
    @Kiza

    Well said.

    Treasonous Serb leaders sucking up to anti-Christian Neocon scum and selling their country to Islamophile Neocon IslamoFascists is unbelievable.

    It would be incredible for Chinese, of all people, to help Serbs throw away the Neocon shackles.
    Deeply disappointed in Russia: understand they have their hands full. But allowing neo-Nazis to rape and ravage fellow orthodox Christians is really despicable.

    • Replies: @Marcus
  23. denk says:

    killary the sec of state on kosovo…
    *On March 21, 1999, Hillary expressed her views by phone to the President: “I urged him to bomb.” The Clintons argued the issue over the next few days. [The President expressed] what-ifs: What if bombing promoted more executions? What if it took apart the NATO alliance? Hillary responded, “You cannot let this go on at the end of a century that has seen the major holocaust of our time. What do we have NATO for if not to defend our way of life?” [sic]
    The next day the President declared that force was necessary.* [1]

    here’r enough evidences to put both clintons to face trial in a world court….if only someone is able to apprehend them that is.

    an open letter to general michael short,
    * General , welcome to the New World Order you have helped to create. Maybe the job you did in Kosovo and your performance at the Senate hearing will get you another star on your shoulder. Wear it in shame. *[2]

    [1]

    http://www.ontheissues.org/Senate/Hillary_Clinton_Kosovo.htm

    [2]

    http://www.srpska-mreza.com/Kosovo/NATO-attack/letter-Stella.html

  24. Pagoda says:

    FWIW, I know a guy in the AF. The mappage was old. A complete eff upp. Capiche? Nothing special. Collateral damage…

  25. denk says:

    more war crimes proof, right outta horse mouth,
    targeting civilians.

    general michael short
    “If you wake up in the morning and you have no power to your house and no gas to your stove and the bridge you take to work is down and will be lying in the Danube for the next 20 years, I think you begin to ask, ‘Hey, Slobo, what’s this all about? How much more of this do we have to withstand?’”
    …………………………………………………………….

    bombing of chinese embassy.

    the state dept spokesman was not there to appease china with that ‘old map’ craptrap,
    he’s there to rub salt into the wound.

    translation,
    *u know this is bullshit of course,
    but whatcha gonna do about it , sucker ?*
    sob could hardly suppress that smirk on his face.

    as for ‘shaming’ general michael short with the carnage inflicted by his precious son, how do u shame a psyhcopath ??
    by def. a pysychopath has no sense of right or wrong, no moral fibre.
    zero, none, zilch,nada.

    psychopath only worship power.
    these are all about power play, playing ‘international games’, with civilians as pawns.
    just ask qm.

  26. @denk

    Look, you drooling moron, if you are going to troll a site, at least learn to capitalize your words properly.

  27. Marcus says:
    @Avery

    Putin is no conservative or Russian nationalist, despite what his Western admirers think. China is anti-nationalist as well, look at their affirmative action type policies for minorities (including Muslim Turks). Still I’d rather be aligned with either than the Islamophile, neokahn bloc

  28. @Quartermaster

    “The Embassy bombing is part of how the international game is played.”

    Really now…?…who else is playing this game, other than Exceptionalistan and jihadi nutballs…?

    See Libya, Tanzania, Kenya, Beirut…

    Anyway the PRC embassy bombing was worse than a crime, it was a mistake…

    I hope Mr. Lee keeps hacking away on his “cottage industry”…

    The people of China have a long memory…but it doesn’t hurt to hit the refresh button now and then…

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