China Rioters Vent Fury
On US And Other NATO Missions
BEIJING, May 8 - Thousands of people protested at U.S. diplomatic missions in China on Saturday, hurling missiles in what appeared to be an officially sanctioned outpouring of fury at NATO's bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.
They also hurled bricks and bottles at the British embassy in Beijing and attacked at least four parked cars belonging to U.S. diplomats, leaving one slewed across the road, its windows smashed, witnesses said.
Buses brought students to the U.S. embassy in the capital and a huge cheer went up as the Stars and Stripes went up in flames outside the main gates. Many hurled empty plastic bottles, tomatoes and debris over the compound's iron fence.
That protest diminished at dusk and the drama switched to China's financial capital of Shanghai as the word spread of NATO's strike on the Chinese embassy in which the official Xinhua news agency said three people were killed, one was missing and 21 were injured.
Thousands of people hurried after dark to the U.S. consular compound on one of the plushest streets of central Shanghai.
Bottles and eggs smashed against its walls and a huge cheer went up from thousands of people as the lamp at the main entrance was hit.
Each time another student group, often accompanied by their teachers, arrived under their university banner, another roar went up and the chanting of slogans like "U.S. Fascist" and "NATO murderers" grew louder.
In Beijing, hundreds of police initially did nothing to stop people hurling missiles at the embassy, smashing windows and lamps. But as daylight faded, they moved in to shepherd the students back to their buses.
The protests in the capital did not end, however. Small groups of students and other people moved to the nearby compound housing the residence of U.S. Ambassador James Sasser.
Police, three deep, cordoned off the road, but allowed some protesters through to sing the Chinese national anthem, burn another U.S. flag and demand to talk to U.S. diplomats.
"You come out or we'll come in," they chanted.
Police kept them away from the entrance gate, however.
Other people hurled missiles at the nearby British embassy, but police kept them far enough away for the damage to be kept to one broken window, witnesses said.
The U.S. embassy told Americans to stay off the streets as individuals whose countries are NATO members reported being the target of verbal rage once their nationalities were identified.
In Shanghai, police blocked off the road in front of the U.S. consulate and did move in once the missiles started flying, grabbing a man who had thrown a bottle.
The anger in both cities was vitriolic against the attack on the Chinese embassy, which NATO said was a mistake.
"China should send troops to help the people of Yugoslavia," yelled 37-year-old Beijing worker Hong Tielu to loud applause.
A Shanghai woman used every swear word she knew in English to condemn the strike, in which the Yugoslav news agency Tanjug said four people were killed. Beijing called it a war crime.
Such comments reflected the overwhelming reaction -- anger and incomprehension at the NATO air war, coupled with concern about the safety of Chinese nationals in Yugoslavia.
A man in Shanghai reflected government concern that the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia over what it says is ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Serbia's Kosovo province foreshadowed intervention in what China regards as its internal affairs.
"We know what the U.S. intention is -- today Kosovo, tomorrow Taiwan," he said.
The Chinese government has said the NATO campaign, launched without United Nations sanction, could be repeated over Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegade province, or Tibet.
It summoned Sasser to hear the "strongest protest" over the strike on the Chinese embassy as students chanted "Down With U.S. Imperialism", "Pay Blood Debts in Blood" and "Down with U.S. Running Dogs".
Several chanted: "Clinton is Hitler".
"One banner bore the Nazi swastika and the word NATO.
There were also protests in the southern city of Guangzhou, where thousands of students mobbed the U.S. consulate in drizzling rain, telling Americans to "get out" and demanding reparations.
A witness said bridges to the Shamian island diplomatic district were choked with people while riot police stood aside and took no action. There were no immediate reports of violence.
He said the China Hotel, site of the British, Italian, French and Dutch consulates, was also thronged with students, as was the Canadian consulate at the International Hotel.
Diplomats said the anti-U.S. backlash among ordinary Chinese would put pressure on the leadership to take firm action.
Resentment has been building against the United States, portrayed by state media as an arrogant global bully which chooses conflict over diplomacy.