China Seeks to Calm Anti-France Sentiment Among Its People
From China National News:
China is seeking to calm anti-France sentiment among its people in the wake of the tumultuous Paris leg of the Olympic torch relay, which has made France the target of a nationalist campaign in China.
Seeing the pro-Tibet protests and chaos surrounding the torch run in Paris as an affront to China, the nationalists have held their own demonstrations and called for boycott of the French retailer Carrefour as well as French products. Chinese media Wednesday published a statement from the commerce ministry that sought to rehabilitate Carrefour in the eyes of the Chinese. Carrefour has been accused of having links with exiled Tibetans, but the ministry said it welcomed the chain’s statement denying that it supports political groups but does back the Beijing Olympic Games.
Read also: China Frowns on Patriotic Protests by Austin Ramzy of Time magazine:
China’s surge in public displays of patriotism — which has blossomed after the rocky reception of the Olympic torch in Europe and the U.S. — is a dilemma for Beijing. The government relies on patriotism to bolster its support now that socialism has disappeared as a unifying ideology. But expressions of strong nationalist sentiment can also lead to people protesting against the central government. “In crisis periods what often happens, and has happened throughout the 20th century, is that these foreign problems very quickly become domestic problems,” says William Callahan, a China expert at the University of Manchester in the U.K. “People ask why the Chinese government isn’t reacting more strongly to what is seen as foreign provocation.”