Watching the TV early yesterday morning, I observed a National reaction to the sudden and seemingly unexpected death of Osama Bin Laden by U.S. forces. I never had any real hope that we would capture the terrorist, nor have I ever believed that it would accomplish anything; His death will only bring about an equivalent personality. Despite my cynicism, his death has brought about a great stir in the international community, and apparently there has been a very mixed reaction with the Chinese masses.
I just read a blog post by Evan Osnos, The New Yorker’s staff writer for China. It is an article very much worth reading, and it says a lot not only about Chinese feelings toward the United States, but even more about the Chinese and their feelings about themselves and their country. Osnos makes good connections between the dulled feelings that the Chinese had toward 9/11 and the realities of their own painful past. As he points out, the traditional religious inclinations of most Chinese make it difficult to understand the stance of a fanatic such as Bin Laden. Were it not for the fact that he drove his masses with a religious backing, I think Bin Laden would have made a strong connection with the Chinese people. I am not saying that it would have been a positive connection, but I see many parallels between his style of revolution and those revolutionaries that were revered in China during much of the Communist rise to power.
Perhaps the most important and best stated idea of the article can be found in the final paragraph, a small parable that has been moving through the Chinese Netizen community. More than anything else in the article, this small passage sums up the feelings of distaste that are felt by many Chinese toward the government. Very worth reading.