While the 10th anniversary of 9/11 was a solemn occasion in the United States, and a chance to remember America’s values of freedom and democracy, for Chinese state media it was a chance to go on the offensive.
On Sept. 11, the Communist Party mouthpiece Xinhua published on its website an article criticizing the United States for “misusing” 9/11. The article stated that America’s 10 years of waging war against terrorism is “often criticized” and that “the more effort against terror, the more terrorism.”
It added that Americans are facing a silent war against these anti-terrorism policies, and that this is an opponent more dangerous than Bin Laden himself.
The author also takes a stab at U.S. confidence and its economy, alleging that “any bad news or adverse economic moves could send investors running for the exits.”
Xinhua ran another piece with a selective summary of “expert opinions” on the matter. The message was that “using violence against violence” causes even more anti-American sentiment, especially in Muslim countries.
It also said that the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, in which two passenger planes were hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center towers, which later collapsed, killing thousands of people, was “a clash of different cultures.”
Not all Chinese agree with the official narrative, however. Freelance writer Zhen Yan, who read the Xinhua articles, flatly rejected their arguments.
“Xinhua selectively interviewed those experts, then gathered and published all the pro-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) opinions. This is one of their methods of deceiving Chinese people,” he said.
He told The Epoch Times that he thinks the biggest beneficiary of the U.S. campaign against terrorists has actually been the CCP.
The United States has paid a great price for the war on terror, he said. The economic burden has been phenomenal and the Americans feel endless pain for the loss of their soldiers.
According to Zhen, the situation with the American’s fighting the war on terror is similar to how the Kuomintang (the Chinese Nationalist Party) led the Chinese to fight the Japanese in the 1930s and ’40s. Then too, the CCP stayed hidden during the war and gained strength. "After the war, Mao went out and plucked the fruits of victory," Zhen said.
In other cases Chinese have made known their annoyance with the Party Line.
Chen Yunfei from Chengdu wrote on the Chengdu Television website, which aired content with a tone similar to Xinhua’s, that: “I wonder why, if America is so feeble and crumbling, and our own Communist Party cause is flourishing, and a new Chinese dawn for the whole world has come, my in-laws keep sending their daughters to America? Are they blind?"
Wang Feihong from the Beijing Film Academy had a personal story rejecting the Party narrative. In a widely circulated essay, he wrote how when the attacks happened he was a fifth-grader and blindly listened to official media, believing that the United States was an “evil country” and even cheering for the terrorist attacks.
Ten years later, his perspective has turned 180 degrees. Now he writes: “These people dare to insult the United States on Internet forums, but don’t dare face the Communist Party Secretary in their own village who bullies them daily. Because they know that they will not be harassed by the U.S. government, whereas the Party Secretary would take revenge.”
Repentant readers responding to articles published by the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times wrote back, stating that they and their peers cheered for the attacks because they were ignorant and brainwashed with anti-American propaganda promulgated by the CCP.
Wu Gan, a human rights activist from Fujian Province, admitted to cheering for the Sept. 11 attacks at that time, along with many other Chinese people. On his blog he apologized to the American people and asked for forgiveness.