APRIL 16, 02:21 EST China Urged To Forge Strength Ruan Guoqin AP/Wang Jianmin [25K]


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BEIJING (AP) — State-run media on Monday urged the Chinese to forge patriotic strength from the tragedy of a fighter pilot's death in the collision with a U.S. spy plane. The hometown of pilot Wang Wei, who was named a ``revolutionary martyr'' on Saturday, held a rally to commemorate his heroism, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Officials newspapers said Communist Party officials and villagers in Huzhou, a small town in eastern China's Zhejiang province, were determined to learn from Wang's ``patriotic spirit'' and to turn ``tragedy into strength.'' The Chinese military called off its search for Wang on Saturday, 13 days after the April 1 collision with the U.S. spy plane. China held the 24-member spy plane crew for more than 11 days after their emergency landing on the island of Hainan, and some Chinese have expressed anger that the crew was eventually released. In response to calls for harsher measures, Chinese leaders have stressed that they still blame the U.S. pilot. They say Beijing will demand an end to U.S. surveillance flights near its coast in talks due to begin Wednesday about the cause of the incident. Chinese fighter jet AP/ [14K] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- U.S. officials have presented accounts of the collision that say Wang was to blame. Chinese officials rejected that version and reiterated their insistence that the U.S. aircraft veered into and rammed Wang's fighter, sending it plunging into the sea. A weekend exchange of harsh words by Beijing and Washington was not reflected Monday in state-run media, which made little mention of the dispute. However, the opinion page of the English-language China Daily urged the United States to ``learn to be humble'' in solving the crisis. Also Monday, the newspaper Guangming Daily reported that college professors supported the official handling of the collision and had vowed to ``work and study harder, condense their efforts and strengthen the nation.'' The newspaper is published by the Communist Party and its article might be meant to head off student protests.