The Chinese Communist Party’s Support of Terrorism
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has long supported terrorist activities abroad, including those of Palestinian terrorist leader Yasser Arafat. Helping to pioneer the tactic of hijacking commercial airlines, Arafat targeted U.S. forces and became an inspiration for Osama bin Laden.
The CCP’s Support of Yasser Arafat’s Terrorist Activities
Arafat started the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (FATAH) in 1959 and established the state of Palestine in November 1988. Until his death in 2004, he was the leading figure of various Palestinian militant organizations. Arafat was likely the CCP’s favorite Middle Easterner. He visited China fourteen times and met nearly every Chinese communist leader, including Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Zemin.
In 1964, Arafat established al-‘Asifah (“The Storm”), FATAH’s military wing, after which he immediately went to Beijing to meet with Chinese premier Zhou Enlai. Zhou reminded him to pay attention to his strategy and not to use counterproductive slogans such as those calling for the complete destruction of Israel.
Besides providing weapons and financial support, Beijing often guided Palestine on how to wage conflict with the United States and Israel while expanding its influence on the international scene. The CCP also invited Palestinians to receive training in China. In January 1965, Arafat declared war on Israel in north Palestine using his guerrilla organizations. In May 1965, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) set up an office in Beijing. In an unprecedented move, China afforded the PLO office diplomatic treatment and openly supported the PLO in various international events.
In November 1988, the nineteenth session of the Palestinian National Council announced the independence of the Palestinian state. Beijing immediately acknowledged it and established diplomatic relations on Nov. 20.
Arafat and the then-CCP general secretary Jiang Zemin visited each other in 2000 and 2001, a time in which bloody conflicts broke out on a large scale between Palestine and Israel. Israel repeatedly condemned Arafat for his role in the violence. With the CCP’s support, Arafat was able to contend with the United States and Israel while further damaging the stability of the Middle East.
The PLO and FATAH were involved in various open and underground militant terrorist activities. They claimed that violent revolution was the only way to liberate the country, an ideology that follows the same doctrine of communist movements. Arafat was very close to other communist countries. He was a member of the Socialist International, and FATAH was an observer in the Party of European Socialists (PES).
The United States and Israel have marked Arafat as the man behind a number of terrorist attacks in the Middle East. The White House identified FATAH and the PLO as terrorist organizations and closed the Palestine Information Office in 1987.
In 1970, FATAH planned and carried out the unsuccessful assassination of Jordan’s King Hussein bin Talal. In September that year, FATAH hijacked three commercial planes from Britain, Germany, and Switzerland in front of the television cameras. The terrorists claimed that hijacking a plane had a greater effect than killing a hundred Israelis in battle.
In 1972, the terrorist group Black September, a militant faction of FATAH, carried out a terrorist massacre of Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games in Munich. The person who planned and carried out this massacre was Ali Hassan Salameh, Arafat’s head of security and director of FATAH intelligence. In addition to the eleven Israelis killed in the attack, a West German police officer also died. Arafat was one of the first militants to target innocent civilians in his operations.