Han Han: It’s Distasteful to Boycott Carrefour

While hundreds of thousands of Chinese rushed to boycott Carrefour, a French supermarket chain which was accused of funding the Dalai Lama, Han Han, an influential writer among China’s younger generation and a race car driver, wrote an article on his blog to object to the boycott.

Han said that he respects people’s patriotic feelings, but he thought that the demonstrators in front of the supermarkets were making a fuss:

Some people demonstrated; some held up slogans; some were watching the scenes for fun; some purposely used 100 RMB bills to empty the stores’ change; some lowered the national flag in front of a store, and then claimed that the French company intended to slight China. These actions are pathetic. The last behavior is especially disgusting.

He introduced his own progress in writing and car racing, and urged Chinese people to do meaningful work to win international respect.

China’s car racing athletes are gaining ranks in Asia. We hope that after a while we would be as good as the second-tier racing athletes in Europe… Our final goal is to challenge Sébastien Loeb, the world’s rally champion from France. No matter whether we could achieve this goal or not, it’s something we are striving to do. However, some people strive to pick a fight with a supermarket. And they call others a traitor if they don’t join them.

He ridiculed some protesters as superficial.

Why is our patriotism so fragile and superficial? When others called us a mob, we cursed them and appeared to be aggressive. And then we claimed, “We are not a mob.” It’s like when somebody calls you an idiot, you hold up a big sign in front of his girlfriend’s dog, protesting that you are not stupid. Although this message would be received by that person, he would still believe that you are an idiot.

He lamented that it was hard to stand on middle ground on the issue.

Everybody is forced to take a side. If somebody chooses to boycott, he is hailed as a hero. If he objects to boycott, he is called a traitor. If he doesn’t say anything, he is called a coward.

More than a hundred thousand people have read this article on his blog, and several thousand left comments. Some said that they agreed with his points, other said that they still believed in boycotting Carrefour.

April 22, 2008 11:17 AM
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