Tue, Sep 12, 2006 - Page 4 News List

PRC papers criticize US over Sept. 11

FOREIGN POLICY State-run media used the fifth anniversary of the attacks on the US to stress the need to eradicate the `root causes' of terrorism

AFP , BEIJING

Chinese state media used the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the US to criticize the US response as "erroneous."

The world has been changed more by the US war on terror than the 2001 terrorist actions that set the war in motion, an editorial in the mass-circulation People's Daily argued yesterday.

"It's fair to say that September 11 changed the United States. But what really changed the world was the erroneous US response to September 11, especially the war in Iraq," it said.

While China has paid lip service to the US war on terror, it is also concerned about the more interventionist US foreign policy that has emerged, analysts have said.

The People's Daily editorial was signed by Yuan Peng (袁鵬), a researcher at the government think tank China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, making it less authoritative than an unsigned opinion piece.

The English-language China Daily, which primarily targets a foreign audience, carried a less direct, veiled criticism of the US.

"Five years ago today was a black day for humanity. It is even more tragic that some have not learnt a lesson from this tragedy," the paper said in an editorial.

"The answer to terrorism, the biggest problem facing the world today, will be given only if the root causes are found and eradicated," it said.

Chinese officials have repeatedly referred to the need to tackle the "root causes" of terrorism, although they have seldom made clear what is meant by the term.

According to Jia Qingguo (賈慶國), an international relations professor at Peking University, the expression covers a set of very specific factors.

"First, they refer to the growing gap between the rich and poor countries," he said.

The rich countries become richer, the poor countries become poorer, and people in the poor countries lose hope," Jia said.

"Second, it refers to the US Middle East policy. It is biased in favor of Israel and makes the people in the Arab countries lose their hope and triggers their anger," he said.

The third component involves the rise of religious extremism around the world, and the difficulty believers of different faiths have in tolerating each other, Jia said.

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