Iraq and a Great Leap for Chinese Intellectuals

Even before images of the first cruise missile strikes on Baghdad reached Chinese TV screens, the country's intellectuals were debating the US-led war against Iraq and the government's response. Commentaries in leading newspapers and on-line journals demonstrated a diversity of opinion seldom seen in the country's state-controlled media, and precipitated wider discussion in people's living rooms.

Most debates addressed whether the war was justified. Opinions were voiced in newspapers and in on-line forums such as the home page of the media school of Qinghua University, widely known as "China's MIT." It posted an anti-war petition with over 1,000 signatories, mostly academics.

Although this grassroots response adhered to the government's anti-war stand, it remains surprising in a country that discourages unscripted political discourse. So it was even more surprising to see pro-war sentiments expressed publicly, such as the petition that appeared in the Guangzhou-based weekly newspaper 21st Century World Herald . That petition voiced a taboo viewpoint: that "human rights are of greater value than national sovereignty."

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To access our archive, please log in or register now and read two articles from our archive every month for free. For unlimited access to our archive, as well as to the unrivaled analysis of PS On Point, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/3LNYu0t;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.