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   Home > About China > Events and Issues of New China's Diplomacy
Strong Protest by the Chinese Government Against The Bombing by the US-led NATO of the Chinese Embassy in the Federal Yugoslavia


At 11:45, 7 May 1999 local time (or 5:45 early morning of May 8, Beijing time), the US-led NATO fired five bombs at the Chinese Embassy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from different directions (four of them exploded right away).   Three Chinese journalists posted in Yugoslavia (Shao Yunhuan, a lady journalist from Xinhua News Agency, Xu Xinghu of Guangming Daily and his wife Zhu Ying) were hit and died heroically, 21 diplomatic personnel in the Embassy were wounded, and the Embassy properties were seriously damaged.

The Chinese Government issued a statement on May 8 immediately after the incident took place.  It pointed out that the bombing of the Chinese Embassy by the US-led NATO constituted a gross encroachment upon China’s sovereignty and flagrant violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the basic norms governing international relations.  The Chinese Government and people expressed their utmost indignation and strong condemnation against this and lodged the strongest protest over this incident, demanding the US-led NATO assume full responsibility for this.  The Chinese Government reserved all the rights for further reactions.  In the afternoon of that day, Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yingfan made an emergency appointment with H.E. James Sasser, the US Ambassador to China, and made solemn representations with him.  Mr. Qin Huasun, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, asked the UN Security Council for an emergency meeting to condemn this atrocity.  On May 9, Vice President Hu Jingtao of China addressed the nation on TV.   He said:  “Starting from yesterday, people throughout the country have held forums and rallies, sent letters or telegrams of protest and staged other activities to voice their support to the solemn statement issued by the Government.  They have strongly condemned the barbarous acts committed by the US-led NATO.  Students and citizens in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenyang and some other cities in China have also organized demonstrations in the vicinities of the diplomatic or consular missions of the United States in China.  All this shows fully that the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia by the US-led NATO has aroused the utmost indignation and strong patriotic feelings of the Chinese people.  The Chinese Government firmly supports and protects all lawful activities of protest in accordance with law”.  A task force was organized by the Chinese Government to handle the bombing incident and it flew to Belgrad immediately afterwards.  On 10 May, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan lodged a strong protest again with the US Ambassador to China and put forward four solemn and just demands to the US side on behalf of the Chinese Government.  China demanded that the United States officially and publicly apologize to the Government and people of China and the families of the Chinese victims for the bombing; conduct a comprehensive and thorough investigation into the missile attack; publicize a detailed report of the investigation immediately; and severely punish the perpetrators.  On the same day, Zhu Bangzao, spokesman of the Foreign Ministry of China, announced the Chinese side’s decision to suspend the high-level exchanges between the armed forces of China and the United States, postpone China-US consultations on the non-proliferation, arms control and international security, and suspend their dialogue on human rights.  In the morning of 12 May, the cinerary casket of the three martyrs hit by the NATO missiles and those wounded in the bombing were flew back to Beijing by the special air plane sent by the Central Government.  At the rally to welcome the Chinese Embassy people back to Beijing on 13 May, President Jiang Zemin delivered an important speech.  Jiang told the rally that people of all ethnic groups in China and compatriots residing abroad were outraged by the bombing of the US-led NATO and had expressed their strongest protest and severe condemnations against that in the last few days.  These just activities gave full expression to the great patriotic spirit and cohesiveness of the Chinese nation and to their strong will to maintain world peace and oppose hegemony.  The great People’s Republic of China was not to be bullied.  Governments, political parties, social organizations of many countries as well as all peace-loving peoples condemned the atrocities committed by the NATO in support of the just struggle of the Chinese people.  Mankind had come to a critical juncture of safeguarding world peace and promoting common development.  The world trends would develop irresistibly.  Those who go along with the trends would prosper and those against would perish.  All peace-loving and justice-upholding countries and peoples should get united and work hard to oppose hegemonism and power politics and to establish a fair and reasonable new international order.  On 14, the UN Security Council held a formal session for this and passed the Chairman’s Statement on the NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia, through which to express sympathy and solicitude to the Chinese Government and to the families of the victims and to condemn the bombing.

President Clinton of the United States and other leaders of the US Government made statements on this on many occasions, expressing their apology to China on this bombing incident.  On 14 May, President Clinton telephoned President Jiang, apologizing again for the bombing and telling Jiang that the US would conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the incident and report the findings to the Chinese side.

After the bombing, heads of state or government and friendly personages of some countries sent messages to the Chinese leaders to express their condolence to the victims, condemnation against the NATO atrocities the and support to the Chinese Government.  People in and outside China voiced their protests and condemnations against the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in various ways.

On 16 June, US President’s Personal Envoy and Under Secretary of State Thomas R. Pickering presented in Beijing to the Chinese Government a US Government’s report on the results of its investigation into the US-led NATO’s bombing of the Chinese Embassy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  Pickering said that the US investigation showed that multiple factors and errors in several parts of the US Government were responsible for the “tragic mistaken bombing”.  The Chinese side pointed out that the explanations that the US side had supplied so far were anything but convincing and that the ensuring conclusion of the so-called mistaken bombing was by no means acceptable to the Chinese Government and people.  The Chinese side demanded that the US side give serious attention to the solemn position and the reasonable demands of the Chinese Government, conduct a comprehensive and thorough investigation, punish the perpetrators severely and give a satisfactory account and explanation to the Chinese Government and people with concrete actions.  It furthermore demanded that the US side should make prompt, adequate and effective compensations for the Chinese loss of lives, injuries and loss of property.  On 30 July, the two sides reached agreement on the compensation by the US side to the Chinese casualties.  The US side was to pay a compensation of 4.5 million US dollars to the Chinese Government for the casualties.  The Chinese Government has already distributed the sum to the families of the three martyrs and the wounded.  On 16 December 1999, the two governments reached agreement on the compensation for the damage done by the bombing to the Chinese Embassy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  According to the agreement, the US Government should pay 28 million US dollars to the Chinese Government for the damage to the Chinese properties as a result of the bombing.

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