Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

China's Outlook on U.S. Darkens Hopes for Close Ties Fading amid Renewed Resentment

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

China's Outlook on U.S. Darkens Hopes for Close Ties Fading amid Renewed Resentment

Article excerpt

BEIJING -- China and the United States are wrangling anew over Taiwan, trade and a host of human rights complaints. A year after U.S. bombs shattered China's embassy in Yugoslavia, bitterly strained relations have resumed the edginess that has marked ties for more than a decade.

Still, the bombing has shifted Chinese views of the United States. Gone are the Communist leadership's rosy prospects for a partnership with Washington. Supporters of closer U.S. ties are on the defensive, and groups long wary of American intentions have grown more leery -- and vocal.

"I never had good feelings about the United States, so the bombing incident just confirmed my suspicions," said Bao Limin, a 22-year-old master's candidate at Tsinghua University, one of China's elite schools.

Bao and her classmates have no plans to protest on the anniversary of the May 7, 1999, bombing -- which falls on Sunday Belgrade time and Monday in Beijing. Academics said universities were ordered to keep campuses quiet. Chinese leaders don't want trouble in the weeks before the U.S. Congress votes on China's permanent access to the American market.

Even as they have moved to shore up U.S. ties to keep needed foreign investment flowing, Chinese leaders have had to accommodate anti-American sentiment among Communist conservatives, the military and the public.

"The Chinese people will carry this incident in their hearts for a long time, so this has naturally influenced China-U.S. relations," said Liu Jinghua, an international affairs scholar with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "Of course it brought nationalism into play."

Many Chinese refuse to accept Washington's explanation that the attack was an accident, due to faulty targeting.

"It's just like our parents always told us: The U.S. rules by force," said Wang Xiaoxia, a Tsinghua student. …

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