Americans Now Enemy
Number One In China -
'Kill Americans!' Roar Crowds
By Matt Pottinger
BEIJING (Reuters) - Hurling rocks and wielding flaming poles, students turned Beijing's diplomatic quarter into a battlefield on Sunday, declaring Americans to be enemy number one.
"Kill Americans! the crowds roared.
U.S. President Bill Clinton was depicted on hundreds of posters with a Hitler-like moustache. Students had Swastikas daubed on their T-shirts across the letters U.S.A.
American reporters at the scene were targets of student wrath.
"What is your nationality?" they demanded to know of the handful of foreign journalists who braved the crowds. Those who admitted being American or British were jostled and given an earful of abuse.
Witnesses reported attacks on Westerners, including one man who apparently piqued demonstrators by showing up with a Chinese woman.
Several Western reporters were punched and kicked. CNN correspondent Rebecca MacKinnon was struck while delivering a live telephone report from the scene. As some students hustled her to safety others yelled "kill her!".
Frequently the students broke into English to shriek four-letter curses.
The crude language was echoed even in the normally restrained official media. One newspaper said that U.S. talk of humanity, democracy and freedom were "goddamned bullshit".
"Clinton is always talking about human rights. Well he is the world's number one offender!" said student Li Zehong, before hurling a grapefruit-sized chunk of concrete at the U.S. embassy.
A female student from Beijing University of Science and Technology, her face streaked with tears, screamed shrilly into a bullhorn: "Down with American Imperialism!" Hundreds of classmates joined in the chant.
Demonstrators carried Chinese signs reading "Return Blood Debts with Blood". Some brandished English signs reading "Eye for an Eye".
As bricks and hunks of concrete rained on the British embassy, a man and his adolescent son weaved through the crowds carrying a sign that read: "We beseech Pesident Jiang (Zemin) to declare war on the United States".
A black-and-white target, worn by many protesters in Yugoslavia, has become the ubiquitous symbol of student anger in China, too. It appeared as punctuation in the headline of the Beijing Youth Daily: "Shock, Anger, Protest".
Newspapers have been fanning the emotion by calling the Belgrade attack deliberate and by publishing large pictures of bloodied Chinese diplomats. Vendors have been doing a roaring trade selling them.
In Shanghai, a man was spotted bolting out of a beauty salon, his hair still lathered in shampoo suds, to catch one passing newspaper seller on his way past.
One student handed out flyers, asking a journalist to deliver it to Clinton.
The shaky English read: "1.2 billion people on your back, Bill, we are ready to departure at any moment to Washington as soldiers!"