FALLOUT from last Saturday's Nato missile attack on the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade
spilled onto the streets of Phnom Penh yesterday (May 13) as approximately 100 Chinese
residents of the capital led a protest march that ended outside the gates of the
Mainland Chinese take to the streets
The chanting, flag waving crowd of protesters - the overwhelming majority of whom
were mainland Chinese business people - waited in vain to present a protest letter
to US Embassy staff.
Troops monitoring the demonstrators at one point fired shots into the air to keep
the demonstrators from approaching embassy gates.
The protesters emphasized their belief that the attack was the primary responsibilty
of the US.
Protesters wore photocopied representations of the American flag defaced with swastikas
or large 'X". Placards carried by demonstrators carried such messages as "Against
US Rascal Violence" and "America Murders Chinese Innocents".
Members of the crowd were anxious to express their anger at what many described as
the "cold blooded murder" of three Chinese journalists in last Saturday's
Belgrade Embassy attack.
"You should be protesting with us because those three victims were journalists,
like you," exclaimed businessman Zhan Lingo, who was literally spitting with
rage as he spoke.
Holding a photocopy picture of two of the Chinese victims of the Belgrade missile
attack, Zhan said his participation in the protest was to express his "parental
anger" at the deaths.
"This woman was only 27," he shouted. "The same age as my daughter.
. . how can I let the death of someone as young and innocent as my daughter go unanswered?"
Protesters were united in loud disbelief toward Nato's explanation that the bombing
of the Embassy in Belgrade had been "accidental".
"One missile is an accident, three missiles is intentional," protester
Lei Juan Guo said in reference to the fact that Nato pilots had targeted and fired
on the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade three times from three different angles. "[The
Nato pilots] must have known that they were hitting the Chinese Embassy."
One sour note in the protest's theme of Chinese unity was the appearance of several
individuals who identified themselves as Cambodian ethnic Chinese and who briefly
heckled the mainland Chinese demonstrators.
"[You] are not our brothers, you are from Peking," one of the well-dressed
hecklers said. "Your people killed my people during Pol Pot time."
Protesters appeared anxious to differentiate their demonstration from the violent
expressions of public anger that have occurred in China in the wake of the Belgrade
bombing, cheerfully handling out bottled water and loaves of bread to journalists
in the crowd.
"Our anger is directed at the US government not its people," explained