Enzo Titolo

Politics, Paranoispiricies, neologisms, diary, creative, ruminations

Friday, April 21, 2006

Another Question - EP-3e $

Presidents Bush and Hu of China had a Whitehouse meeting this week. Media coverage focused on some protocol 'gaffes,' such as our announcing their national anthem as being for the 'Republic of China' (which is Taiwan's name), rather than the Peoples' Republic of China. [In my wildest dreams, I'd love for Taiwan's ex-pats to somehow take over China, but I'm starting to let that one go...]

Then there was the screaming lady (a physician) at the press conference telling Hu that he's doomed, and that Bush should push him for human rights and the encourage the freedom of the Falun Gong. Bush instead told Hu, "You're OK!"

Isn't it strange that this lady got Epoch Times day-Press-credentials (the pro-Falun anti-China broadsheet) for this event? I've already gone off about how male escort Jeff Guckert / Gannon could possibly get such credentials to serve the Bush Administration's propaganda needs. Considering how using the Press ruse has been used to kill world leaders before.. (think of how Al Qaida got Ahmed Shah Massoud of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance on 9/9/2001, and think of how on the morning of 9/11/01 a shabby van with middle eastern men inside wanted to interview the President before he headed to the school.) You'd think that the Secret Service would finally be more careful who is allowed to get those Day Press Passes. Or maybe they were and are careful...

Television stations in China were even more careful, blacking out the screaming lady's spectacle until the US Secret Service literally covered her mouth and pulled her out of there to await charges. The Chinese coverage also 'missed' the mis-appellation of their country's name was mis-translated to the correct name for the benefit of the home crowd. Though it is interesting to think of the many Chinese in America working and in graduate schools catching this. I don't know if they care to compare notes.

The US just makes the darndest mistakes with Chinese diplomacy, like our 'accidental' bombing of their embassy during the 1999 Serbian bombing campaign. There was no way that that could be covered up, and there were some big rowdy demonstrations against the US for that one. I don't blame them. Any tourist map of any city would list where every embassy is. Either we were showing them who's still boss, or someone in that embassy was using it to help the Serbs kill U.S. troops. And the Chinese have a major chip on their shoulders about Western domination of humiliation of their culture, people, and sovereignty going back to the awful Opium Wars. Meanwhile, Chinese memories are long, and when the West was mostly dirty and ignorant, these guys were building a wall to cut us out of their society with abacii, paper money, gun powder, fireworks, and pasta noodles.

Honestly, though, I can't see how an exercise and meditation program is worth persecuting! I've seen these folks demonstrating peacefully and exercising in the parks. They seem perfectly positive and gentle. But then again the French have rioted over ballets, so maybe in China any group with millions of dedicated adherents is a threat to be trampled down on HARD.

Since China went Corporatist/Capitalist (or Neo-Feudal -- more on that neologism another time), they are fine with private property and greed, as long as the Party retains control and full cooperation and compliance. So here's this group of people probably forsaking greed, seeking justice and balance, in a society totally out of balance environmentally and in terms of corruption and extremes of poverty and wealth, and how these extremes serve only a few within their nation and the West... I guess that meditation and t'ai ch'i is revolutionary!

The Falun Gong assert that their thousands of prisoners are being robbed of their body parts, I assume for the Chinese rich or the connected, or maybe on the global market.... It is so shocking as to sound insane, but on further thought, I don't put it beyond the Chinese or the world market to steal prisoners' organs for the benefit of the wealthy and free. And Falun Gong members' organs are likelier to be healthier in that the members exercise, meditate (less damaging stress), and might eat better.

BUT, all these tragic issues and protocol comedies of manners aside (a State Luncheon instead of a dinner? Hu meeting with Bill Gates before the President!), another tense protocol moment between China and the US came to Enzo's mind.

The EP-3 Reconnaisance Plane incident over China in the spring of 2001 was Bush' first crisis. A US crew from an advanced signals monitoring plane (not 'spy plane' since it was not in China) was brought down by a kamikaze Chinese air pilot, Wei Wang. The US asserted that we were in international airspace dozens of miles from Hainan Island. China tends to take an expansive view of what constitutes its territory. And I'm not talking about Tibet or Taiwan. They claim much more sea territory than is internationally accepted in Law of the Sea treaties. If, for example, there is a "China Sea" then I wouldn't be surprised if China were to claim all of it, much like Mexico claiming the entire Gulf of Mexico up to a couple of miles off Florida and Alabama.

The US didn't accept these air and sea territory claims, and the official story was that we didn't fly into their official air space or their plane. Their hotdog suicide pilot almost managed to take our plane out completely, but the US pilot was awesomely skillful, bringing the plane down to a rough landing on the pleasure and military installation island of Hainan. I bet someone on our side would have preferred the plane crashing or being shot down, since the crew, despite an almost free fall speed crash to near-certain death, actually went about destroying their collected data and sophisticated equipment, but much of it survived since the whole thing happened so fast -- this stuff is extremely sophisticated signals and data gathering equipment, perhaps state of the art. We were probably getting good stuff, but the Chinese commenced to take the plane apart and they kept it for quite a while. Meanwhile, US public sympathy for the crew gave the Chinese time to reverse engineer the plane.

Chinese Suicide pilot Wang Wei became a national hero. I think they had a parade and named his high school after him. There might still be a holiday for him. He was definitely called a national hero honored with a day of mourning.

Meanwhile, the US Crew was being interrogated/questioned as 'guests' of the Chinese. They held up quite well, especially considering their ordeals. Bush came off as nervous and tic-y, but Colin Powell kept a straight face. The whole thing ended up being a whose-fault-is-it kind of situation, but the Chinese had our plane and our crew.

It also came down to a payment for 'hosting' the spy 'guests' and for landing 'privileges' that the plane did not ask for in advance. The way it played in the US was that we stated that we 'greatly regretted' that their pilot bumped into us and we didn't have time to ask them to emergency land on their base, and that we 'allowed' the Chinese to 'save face' and translate the US statement as a deep 'apology' for their domestic consumption. It took almost a couple of weeks for all this to play out.

The Chinese billed us one million dollars for taking apart our plane (which we told them that we didn't want them to do), putting it into a bunch of crates to be carried off by a transport plane, and for our pilots' 'hospitality' costs. The US replied with a $34,000 counter-proposal.

My question is: what did the US pay the Chinese for this incident? The closest I can get to an answer is that once we got our airmen back and our plane back in boxes, the Pentagon was planning on paying only the $34,000.

I am sure that the answer to this question is something that the US Department of State and the Chinese Communist Party does not want to be addressed. You can spin an apology/regret translation, but you can't spin a deposited check.


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