Saturday, April 19, 2008

Anti-French Protests In China

Two views on Chinese youths' protesting recent French youth protests against China.

From Reuters:
Dozens of young Chinese, angry at disruption of the Olympic torch relay in Paris, protested outside a Carrefour branch in east China on Friday, setting fire to a French flag, waving banners and shouting slogans, local media said.
Local media photos showed the protesters holding up banners that read "Boycott France, Support the Olympics" and "Oppose Tibet independence, Love the motherland."
My translation of the account carried by the French online version of the Belgian newspaper 7Sur7:

Anti-French protests erupted Saturday in four Chinese cities, targeting the Carrefour franchise, to protest against France's attitude on Tibet and the Olympic games. ...

The largest gathering took place in Wuhan, an industrial city in central China, of eight million people, according to police and witnesses. Hundreds of Chinese, up to thousands, marched in front of Carrefour stores. The protestors began by assembling before a first store before heading to other neighborhoods, added the same source. "There were several hundred protestors, calm, a majority of them youths, they didn't hang around for long, they carried Chinese flags", said another witness over the phone. According to police, there were 300 people at first, then the procession quickly fleshed itself out. An informed source, quoting police, said that the protest had attracted 10,000 people by noon, a number that AFP could not independantly confirm. According to this source, the protestors were "very well organized"....

["Joan of Arc = Prostitute" "Napoleon = Pervert" "France = Nazi" "Free Corsica" ]

Protestors carried a French flag defiled with swastikas and calling Joan of Arc a "prostitute". Police in Wuhan did not wish to comment.

The online account carried by France's main newspaper, Le Figaro, has gathered over 190 comments as I write this. Scanning through the comments, there seem to be a significant number expressing sympathy... with the Chinese protestors!

A translated sampling of remaks:

realityman, 19/04/2008 12:32

in china, we are more free than is thought except when it's against the power in charge or against the interest of the country.... Generally, educated people are very well informed by chinese media and foreign media (the Le Monde, Figaro, cnn etc websites are all accessible and are not censored. For that matter all sites are accessible with a proxy) the people read a lot of different sources of information. On the other hand in france, ideas against chinese and calling them all kinds of names are permitted. Which goes to show, democracy is a good thing only if the public is well informed. This is far from being the case in france... disturbing.

taoguy, 19/04/2008 12:04

I'm ashamed of being french. i saw our athletes insulted by the french. On the olympic flame's journey through France, it was the chinese in France that applauded the french athletes. We have no lesson to give to the chinese. Our values are not universal. France is a racist and selfish nation. I invite all those who speak without knowledge to study the history of China and Tibet. Insulting China serves no purpose, what is needed is to work with China, welcome chinese to France, send students to study in China...

sam, 19/04/2008 15:35

it builds, it builds and then it bursts... I only hope that it won't be us, we french in china, who'll suffer the consequences from the irresponsabily of some long distance defenders of certain values that they themselves refuse to apply... for the moment, working only with chinese, I feel no antipathy... the next time, before acting, think about the consequences and put your misplaced pride elsewhere, especially when you haven't mastered the subject... and that the subject barely concerns you.


truepeers said...

China is a long way from my idea of a free society. But, arguably, it is moving, slowly, in the right direction. On the other hand, France is a leading player in building the EUSSR at the expense of its own people.

So, I say split the difference: let's boycott Chinese knock-offs of French products. No more China-made Peugeot pepper mills! No more French kissing with Chinese girls! That'll teach em both!

Anonymous said...

The following words are written to comment on the CNN's report. I deeply feel that media distortion has strongly fooled so many people.

You can learn more facts from:


I don’t expect my comments be posted by CNN, because I know CNN hates China. I also know that so-called “Tibetan protest” is totally a plot led by anti-China countries. But I still want to express my feelings toward the boycott to Carrefour. I think, every person has conscience and justice, not except CNN’s employees. So I just hope you can think it over when you are free and judge what you have been doing is correct or not.

Xizang (Tibet) has been an integral part of China since about 1200 A.D., much longer than America being the home of today’s American. Tibetan, as well as other minorities, has the same social status as Han nation. (In fact, I am a member of Hui nation in China.) Since Tibet's liberation in early 1950s, China has spent much effort improving Tibet, an example is the construction of the Tibet railway. Tibetan, along with other minorities in China, even owns special rights than Han nation, e.g. they don’t need to follow the family planning policy. What’s more, Tibet has been an autonomous region of China since the very beginning of liberation.

However, in Paris, when the torch reached, the flag of Xizang (Tibet) ’s independence was deliberately plugged in Paris authorities’ building. Then, when some protesters attacking the disabled girl holding the torch, the French police did nothing. Subsequently, French newspaper posted “(The Violence in Paris) Gives China a loud Slap” in its cover edition.

We have to wonder, why? Why French looks so strange? Why French hates China so much? What on earth we did is wrong?

It’s later learned that Louis Vuitton group, the biggest shareholder of Carrefour, contributed much money to Dalai supporting the riot in Tibet. So comes the boycott toward Carrefour.

Until recently, I noticed CNN’s anti-China’s report. Throughout your reports, I discover uglification and insult toward China. I think, your goal has already been attained, really. Your readers have held firm bias on China already, as you want them to be. Besides, you made me so sad.

However, though we are insulted, I don’t feel I am shamed, in the contrary, I feel so proud, much prouder than before. Because I know, we Chinese are a nation full of justice and responsibility, while there is a nation full of unshamed thoughts and evil intentions, and CNN belongs to the shamed nation.

Charles Henry said...

Honestly, it seems that Ted Turner should have named his cable channel the "Chimera News Network", considering how people tend to see CNN as biased against whatever political viewpoint they themselves happen to hold.

Anonymous, since I don't get my news from CNN, and didn't even reference them in my post, I'm not sure why you want to refute their "distortions" here.

But I would be curious to know what you think of the desecrated flag from the French media account which I **did** write about.

That swastika doesn't shame you?

Here's another question: if all we know about China is to come from news media like CNN, and if they were only presenting distorted, negative impressions, why wouldn't the people of the west be upset with China?

We're reacting to what we're seeing.

Show us why we're wrong. Show us how China values freedom as it is defined in the west, let western media into Tibet, without your escorts, so that we can see for ourselves all these wonderful things you are doing for the Tibetans.

Since Tibet's liberation in early 1950s...

I'll take advantage of your evident expertise on the subject to inquire:
Liberated from whom..?

Because I know, we Chinese are a nation full of justice and responsibility...

..and corruption, and pollution, and the main reason I do not support China's rights to the Olympic Games:

Religious persecution.

Let people have the God-given freedom that is theirs by inherent right, and then come and tell us what fools we are.

Dag said...

I haven't copied a line from the Chinese comment and done a Google search of it, but I suspect that if I do in a week or so I'll find it copied and pasted at a hundred sites, this coming across as the work of some p.r. factory in the PRC. Why would I think that? Well, a few years ago i got some plastic spam of a comment on a piece I wrote on Malmo, Sweden. It was such an obvious scam that I did search it a while later and found it all over the place, word for pasted word. And now I do that anytime I'm suspicious of a comment, such as this one.

truepeers said...

yes it sounds pretty cookie cutterish, though Charles' post was linked by CNN; and anonymous probably wanted to comment there, couldn't, and came here.

lack of religious freedom in China is very real on all fronts, not least for Muslims. It's worth noting that this commenter calls himself a member of the "Hui nation"; "Hui" is the term for Chinese Muslims (who are not exactly a nation). Yet I guess he sees "Hui" as largely an ethnic not religious distinction (i.e. people originally from central Asia, though now intermarried with Chinese), like my friend who knows he's Hui but whose only really Muslim behaviour or practise is that he doesn't eat pork or drink alcohol (he says he's allergic to the latter). But having a mother who insisted he register as Hui was enough to get him into a university with grades that would not have qualified him if he weren't "Hui".

I wouldn't blame any Tibetan Buddhist who didn't want to end up as distinctive as many a Hui. Then again there's something to be said for going to university in Beijing and fitting in...

Dag said...

Also known as Uighars, the Muslims in China. The whole thing struck me as a set-up, one minority claiming s/he is lovin' it. But it could be true.

I quote and anthropologist often, who writes: "No one can be free who loves the memory of his chains."

Freedom is a hard thing. Look at how much the Leftist hate it, nearly to a man. With so many people against it it can't be all good. It's just far better for those of us who demand it anyway.

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