by Anatoly O. 04.03.2001
An accident happened April 1st over China's economic waters of the South-China Sea. The US Navy plane EP-3 was flying in circles at a low altitude collecting information on China's most advanced Russian-made destroyer. Two Chinese jet fighters took off from their base in Guangdong Province and arrived to intercept and drive away the visitor - but the US Navy plane did not at first show any intention of leaving. The two jets flew in formation side by side with the EP-3. The U.S. plane's nose and left wing rammed the tail of one of the Chinese plane, causing it to lose control and plunge into the sea. The pilot ejected from his disabled plane, while the other Chinese plane returned safely. The U.S. plane entered Chinese airspace without approval, and landed at Lingshui Airport in Hainan.
The Chinese president Jiang Zemin stated: "The United States often sent its planes to make surveillance flights in areas close to China. And this time, in violation of international law and practice, the U.S. plane bumped into our plane, invaded Chinese territorial airspace and landed at our airport." Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said that China has a right to conduct ''an investigation'' into the collision. Zhu said that Washington should ''admit its mistakes'' and ''make an explanation to the Chinese government and people on this incident instead of raising this or that demand or try to shirk its responsibilities.''
24 crew members, (21 men and three women,) off the U.S. plane are in good health on China's Hainan Island, they suffered no injuries and they have not been mistreated.
When two years ago the US Democratic government bombed Yugoslavia for 78 days, the country was united. The media supported the government actions completely, even when the Chinese embassy was destroyed. Republicans always support US troops, no matter what.
Now, while our crewmembers are still being held by the Chinese, the media calls our servicemen and women 'spies', and advocates Chinese point of view more vigorously than the Chinese newspapers. The media suggests that if it were to happen on the USA soil, we would treat the Chinese servicemen worse and would send their plane back in boxes months later. Democratic senators and congressmen too are very critical of the White House actions. The country is divided.