Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei made an appointment on November 30 to meet with Malaysian Ambassador to China Dato' Syed Norulzaman and lodged representations to Malaysia over Chinese citizens being successively humiliated and assaulted in Malaysia.
People take note of the fact that faced with such a rare and grave incident of Chinese citizens being assaulted the Chinese Foreign Ministry's stand is cautious and restrained, using carefully weighed wording which so far has not incorporated the phrase "strong protest". It only "requests an immediate investigation into the cases in an earnest and responsible manner and take effective measures to prevent the reoccurrence of such incident". In all fairness, when its citizens are assaulted and illegally detained the Chinese government and people cannot but feel indignation. The Chinese government's civilized and cautious handling of the matter is completely out of consideration of the overall China-Malaysia friendship.
People also notice that to such outrage the Malaysian politicians and mainstream media also pay high attention. Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who has just returned from abroad is raged and ashamed. He announced on November 27 to form an independent committee to investigate the matter. He said to the press that if incidents occurred targeting Chinese tourists and the perpetrator is a Malaysian government official we apologize for this, be it immigration officers or police officers. Malaysian Home Affairs Minister Dato' Azmi Khalid said he would go to Beijing specially for this matter to apologize to the Chinese government.
They said the Malaysian government attaches high importance to the Malaysia-China relations and hopes the bilateral friendship and cooperation won't be affected by this; that Malaysia and China have always maintained friendly relations since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations and the government will be no means allow unpleasant incidents to ruin the bilateral relations.
In the face of an ugly incident the Chinese and Malaysian governments happen to have the same attitude. It demonstrates that the both sides have, since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations, been committed to protecting the China-Malaysia friendship and maintaining the bilateral friendship, both having said the incident won't affect the bilateral relations. It is fair to say that four Chinese women being assaulted and detained in Malaysia is an incongruous "episode" in the bilateral relations, which can be addressed in a candid atmosphere. The perpetrators can also be investigated and punished according to the law. The key is for Malaysia to adopt a responsible attitude in addressing the matter, confronting the "episode" so as to avoid occurrence of "bending" of the bilateral relations.
While the both countries are seriously confronting the "episode" there appeared "discordant noise" in Malaysia. In front of the press Malaysian Vice Internal Security Minister Datuk Noh Omar said not to wish to see that the videotaped incident of a Chinese woman being stripped and humiliated during detention make all police responsible and affect police morale. He added if foreigners view Malaysian police as atrocious they can choose not to stay in Malaysia and return to their homeland.
Obviously, the Vice Minister's voice runs opposite to that of Malaysian Prime Minister who represents the government and may present some obstacles for investigating the illegal detention of Chinese women. This cannot but raise concern on the Chinese side.
For China and Malaysia maintaining the friendly relations is of overall consideration. Keeping the relations normal will benefit both peoples. Otherwise, an "episode" will affect the bilateral relations. Therefore, only by confronting the "episode" and striving to dispel the "episode" can a "bending" of the bilateral relations be avoided. People have reason to expect that the "episode" can be smoothly addressed under the efforts of the Chinese and Malaysian governments and the two countries will continue to maintain the sound and friendly relations.
The article, written by Feng Chuangzhi and carried on the front page of People's Daily Overseas Edition on Dec. 2, is translated by People's Daily Online