Thursday, October 21, 2004
PRC government denies it is harbouring Bin Laden
People's Daily Online report (links added):
Full text here
On the afternoon of October 19, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a regular press conference. A reporter asked: a British journalist familiar with Middle-East affairs reported that Osama Bin Laden is now possibly on the Chinese side of its border with Pakistan. What's your comment on this?
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue answered: "I haven't read the report you just mentioned yet, even less do I know any ground for this report. I think he is irresponsible for writing such a report. I can explicitly tell you that Bin Laden isn't in China ...
On October 13 Spanish newspaper El Mundo carried a sensational report claiming that Bin Laden, head of al-Qaeda group, is hiding in China.
The article described with every detail vividly: at the beginning of 2004, Bin Laden, head of al-Qaeda group, escaped to China and "met with Chinese government officials'', hoping he was "given asylum'' by Chinese government in exchange for his guarantee for the "peace cause'' in the northwest area. It is obvious that both sides have "reached an agreement''.
The report continued "vividly'' to say, just like Bin Laden guaranteed to the Chinese government in the past summer that the region had been relatively calm since Bin Laden's arrival.
"Desiring to see the world plunged into chaos'', the journalist added that Bin Laden's refuge had been spotted by a US satellite and was near a lake on the Pakistan-China border. He said a detachment of Pakistani and US special forces were lying in wait on the Pakistani side, hoping to capture Bin Laden in fight towards Pakistan border and then send him to Bush by air.
When getting the news, media made inquiries of US government and military officials about the news in addition to making inquiries of Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman about this matter.
In an interview with The Chicago Tribune US Secretary of State Colin Powell said, "We don't know where Bin Laden is and have not heard the so-called report that he is in China, but we think he is alive. We are working closely with the Pakistanis to capture him. US President George W. Bush is briefed on it regularly so he has not taken his eye off the Bin laden ball. After all, this is the guy responsible for 9/11.
Powell still stressed again US is doing well in relations with most of US allies and friends. He said our relations with China are the best we have had in 30 years under the efforts of both governments ...
Now that China denies Bin Laden is in China and the US government refuses to mention the matter, then where does the sensational news come out?
If glance over the newspaper one will know the reporter is Gordon Thomas claiming that he is a British senior journalist. He often says he has maintained long-term cooperative relations with national intelligence institutions ... With no sensational news for a long time, Thomas is so idle that he has played a joke on that the world is concerned about Bin Laden. Nevertheless, what he did has not won due results as nobody believes in it.
Actually, it is nothing strange for Thomas to dramatize Bin Laden is in China. As three years ago, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao once said openly that it is groundless for the rumor of West media that Bin Laden is in China.
At the regular press conference held on September 22, 2001 some reporters asked: "According to a report by British The Guardian on September 22 Bin Laden has escaped from Afghan and entered into China. At present he is hiding in somewhere in China. Please confirm.''
Zhu said in reply, "The Guardian's report is groundless. I don't know what is the purpose for the reporter to spread the rumor.''