Why China may not be an Al Qaeda target
This year’s hottest text message tells of an Arabian Nights-like tale of Osama bin Laden. He calls his terrorist brothers together and warns them: „China is the only country in the world which must certainly never be attacked, as the consequences will be devastating for the perpetrators.“
Bin Laden’s fear, so the tale goes, is not due to the nation’s assumed rising military might, but from the „Chinese characteristics“ which still befuddle even the most experienced investment adviser from time to time. Bin Laden warns his guerillas to take heed of lessons from a failed plot by another terrorist organisation.
According to the tale, five terrorist missions were sent to China, but only one came back.
The first mission’s assignment was to blow up a highway bridge. Unfortunately, the terrorists couldn’t carry out the order. China has so many cement bridges that there were just too many targets to choose from after 15 years of state-financed projects.
The second group was instructed to blow up a public bus. But they also failed, as the rude crowds kept pushing them off.
The third mission was to bomb a public shopping area. This failed because the terrorists’ device was stolen by a thief in the crowd. This not only caused the mission to be aborted - but their technology was leaked to the world, after the item was mass produced by counterfeiters.
The fourth plot was to bomb a high-rise building. But the group was discovered by the dozens of security guards. They beat up the terrorists, mistaking them for people protesting about being thrown off the land.
Only the fifth mission succeeded. Their job was to blow up a coal mine, which they managed to do. More than 100 people were killed, according to the story. Thinking their mission had been accomplished, the terrorists returned to their base, reported their success, and then returned to their desert caves, where they tuned their satellite TVs into CNN. Days went by and there was still no report, making the leaders suspicious as to whether the mission had ever been carried out.
After all, a terrorist act which goes unreported lacks the intended impact. What they did not realise, of course, is that there are so many coal mine disasters in China, they often go unreported. Moreover, China prefers to suppress such news or downplay it so that the foreign media does not pick up the story. So, the tale ends a few weeks later. Having still heard no news, the leadership believes the terrorists failed - and has them executed.
South China Morning Post