Hero to Traitor: The Difference a Day Makes

Jin Jing in ParisAfter excoriating a respected news editor for advocating greater freedom of speech and venting their anger on a Chinese student at Duke University for trying to promote dialogue between pro-China and pro-Tibet protestors, Chinese nationalists have turned their sights on a new, and frankly shocking, target: Jin Jing, the wheelchair-bound fencer declared a national hero last week after using her frail body to protect the Olympic flame from protesters in Paris. Jin’s crime? Expressing doubts over plans for a boycott of French retailer Carrefour–a boycott motivated in large part by the treatment she received in Paris.

Lanzhou-based blogger Liang Fafu wrote a post examining the nationalists’ demonization of Jin. Liang’s commentary is no longer available on his blog but has been re-posted by someone at 6571.net. Translated by CDT:

Below is a news item:

2008-04-16 14:24:00 Source: Xinmin.cn. Netizen Comments: 480. Summary: Olympic torch bearer Jin Jing has publicly said she hopes netizens will be prudent in handling calls to boycott Carrefour as the first victims of such a boycott are likely to be the many Chinese who work for Carrefour.

Below is some of the commentary from netizens:

Netizen from Jinan, Shandong: “Jin Jing is bullshit! Speaking on behalf of Carrefour. I think she’s a traitor.”

Netizen from Beijing: “Torch bearer Jin Jing, I earnestly request you to shut your mouth. You’ve done your duty already. Don’t go around making irresponsible remarks. First she’s missing a leg, now she’s missing a brain.”

Netizen from Dalian: “This c*nt’s attitude is the same one the Qing rulers had after the Eight Allied Forces came. What was the result then? Are you capable of representing the Great Han Race? Do you what you’re supposed to do!”

Netizen from Chengdu: “Someone goes to France once and it’s like she thinks she’s French. Jin Jing speaks with the voice of an utterly brainless evil-eyed wolf traitor. No wonder her original work unit wanted to get rid of her.”

Netizen from Jiangmen, Guangdong: “Jin Jing??? A cultureless, brainless stupid c*nt!!! And she’s a torch bearer…I demand we rip the torch from her hands!!!”

Look at the face of these nationalists. A few days ago, Jin Jing was a hero because of her courage in the face of attacks from [splittists], but today she becomes a traitor because her conscience led her to point out reality: a boycott of Carrefour will harm the Chinese people who work there. Even if she’s wrong, it’s her right to freely express what she thinks. Why curse her so crudely?

In my opinion, the harm done to her here is worse by far than the harm done her by the [splittists]. These nationalists are attacking her for her handicap, launching inhumane personal assaults on her.

In the eyes of the nationalists, Chinese workers losing their jobs—losing the money they need to support their families—is a matter of no consequence. For love of country, everybody should be willing to starve to death before going to work for a foreign company. This leaves me speechless.

To use such cutting rhetoric to attack a handicapped girl, to assault her on the basis of her handicap—-where has these nationalists’ humanity gone? As long as you love your country, it’s OK to dispense with humanity, dispense with basic respect for other people, dispense with basic respect for the dignity and spirit of a handicapped girl?

From this you can see just what kind of thing a nationalist is.

Ironically, the New York Times has just run a long piece on China’s love for Jin Jing: “Sympathy on the Streets, But Not for the Tibetans