Even as governments around the world, including India, swiftly issued statements on the death of Osama bin Laden, Pakistan’s staunch ally — China — stayed silent.
Until late Monday evening, the Chinese foreign ministry had made no comment on the milestone in the US war on terror. Beijing’s silence set off speculation that it was caught off guard to walk a diplomatic tightrope.
China blames separatist groups linked to al Qaeda as its main terror threat to domestic security. The group’s mastermind Osama was found sheltered in a mansion in China’s all-weather ally Pakistan. Chinese media websites ran the news with minimal commentary from Chinese experts and editorial writers. “The significance of Osama’s death is general and symbolic,’’ Shi Yinhong, director of the Centre on American Relations at Renmin University in Beijing told the Hindustan Times. “I don’t think this will change anything in US policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan. (But) his death is positive for China’s own fight against terror.’’ Since the last decade, Beijing has blamed the East Turkestan Islamic Movement as a major domestic security threat in its restive northwest Xinjiang province bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Some Chinese netizens posted regretful messages. On the China Daily website CCTVzhangxin said: “To some extent, he is a real man to fight against world’s No. 1 power alone.”
“Makes no difference. America remains the world's biggest terrorist,’’ posted Fu_Manchu on the forum of the official newspaper People’s Daily.