Questioning the Boycott of Carrefour

Calls for a boycott of French retailer Carrefour are heating up. Time China blog posted the text of an SMS making the rounds:

We hope you are able to boycott at least on 1 May, to deliver, by the empty that day, one message to the western world: Chinese shouldn’t be humiliated! Chinese people shouldn’t be insulted!
The boycott against Carrefour is going to spreading all over the country, and we anticipate your presence! Thank you.

But apparently not everyone thinks a boycott is the best method to speak out about Tibet and the Olympics.
A commentary in the official Shanghai Daily says:

It’s irrational to boycott Carrefour, because there’s no proof that the French company itself has been part of the anti-China conspiracy.

Moreover, Carrefour’s China outlets employ mainly Chinese people and sell mostly Chinese products.

Ours is an era of globalization, in which squishy emotions should give way to reason and wisdom.

ESWN translated a piece from the Southern Metropolis Daily:

So why is Carrefour involved? The netizen who made the post said that Louis Vuitton did wrong and it happens to hold a lot of Carrefour shares. That is why they want to boycott Carrefour. By extension, I reasoned: China is the second largest holder of US Treasury bills and can therefore be said to be the second largest shareholder; when USA invaded Iraq, should certain Arab countries boycott China for that reason?

As long as you don’t violate the law, you are free to show up and express your views in front of Carrefour. But if you label all those who disagree with you as “unpatriotic,” then that is wrong. You have the right not to buy things at Carrefour on May 1st, just as I have the right to buy things there. Even if I don’t go, that would only be because I am lazy. You should not make the mistake of thinking that I share your viewpoint.

Yet the CEO of LVMH, which owns Louis Vuitton, has denied rumors that the company provided support for the Dalai Lama. From The Times:

Mr Arnault is in the front line following a widespread but, he says, unfounded rumour on Chinese websites that his group had provided financial support to the Dalai Lama.

With Goldman Sachs predicting that China will become the world’s biggest luxury goods market within a decade, alarm bells are ringing at LVMH’s head office in Paris.

“I refute categorically the allegations over backing for the Dalai Lama,” Mr Arnault said.

April 18, 2008 10:47 PM
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