Creating a Reference Point for Contemporary Nationalists: The Belgrade Embassy Bombing (May 1999)

  • Simon Shen


That the Fourth International should have any opportunity to comment on Sino-Yugoslav-US relations as recently as the late 1990s as if it was the 1950s was unexpected. The first case study starts precisely with the events that led to the above commentary. In 1998 Kosovo had begun fighting for cession from Yugoslavia. The administration in Belgrade was accused of violating human rights and carrying out ethnic cleansing in dealing with the unrest in its minority possession. From 24 March to 10 June 1999, under the auspices of the ‘Blair Doctrine’ in which human rights were given higher priority than sovereignty, NATO sent in multinational troops to intervene in the crisis.2 China unexpectedly became a direct player on 8 May 1999, when its embassy in Belgrade was hit by three missiles (hereafter the ‘Bombing’). Although the Bombing took place within the larger context of the NATO-Yugoslavian War, the Chinese response was targeted exclusively at the United States: ‘US-led NATO’ was the standard term used to refer to the perpetrators. This incident, the topic of this case study, is now regarded by many scholars like Lampton, Gries and the ‘China threat’ theorist Gertz as having initiated a new phase in contemporary Chinese nationalism.3


Chinese Government Chinese People Ordinary Citizen Conspiracy Theory Falun Gong 
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© Simon Shen 2007

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  • Simon Shen

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