Journal of Chinese Political Science

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 63-83

First online:

The 2001 “spy” plane incident revisited: the Chinese perspective

  • Joseph Y. S. ChengAffiliated withthe Contemporary China Research Project, City University of Hong Kong
  • , King-Lun NgokAffiliated withthe Department of Public and Social Administration, City University of Hong Kong

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The 2001 “spy” plane incident was probably the most serious military incident in Sino-American relations since the 1970s, and it generated a crisis in the already brittle relationship since the new Bush administration came into office. This article attempts to revisit this incident from the Chinese perspective and provides some insight into the understanding of the Chinese foreign policy behavior and position on Sino-American relations. It presents the respective arguments concerning the responsibilities of the incident, explores the Chinese historical memory of US hegemonic behavior, and examines the Chinese perspective and attitude towards the incident and their causes through a study of the reactions of the Chinese government and the Chinese people to the incident.1