Quote of the Day: “Nowadays, People are Proving Their Patriotism by Destroying Bottles of Nongfu Spring Water”

In recent weeks, two very familiar household names in China—Nobel prize-winning novelist Mo Yan and bottled water company Nongfu Spring—have come under fire from extreme Chinese nationalists, who have accused the pair of odd bedfellows of being insufficiently patriotic and overly pro-Japanese. In Mo Yan’s case, the controversy originated with a nationalist blogger who filed a court order to stop the acclaimed novelist from “defaming” China’s heroes and martyrs. Nongfu Spring’s troubles began with rumors of a business rivalry with another Chinese bottled water company (the Wahaha Group), snowballed into accusations that the company was too pro-Japanese, and culminated in an announced boycott of Nongfu Spring products by 7-Eleven stores in China. (It is worth noting that 7-Eleven is headquartered in Texas and owned by Japanese company Seven & I Holdings.)

In today’s CDT Quote of the Day, a user on the Quora-like Q&A site Zhihu contrasts past instances of “performative patriotism” with today’s louder and even more pathetic hyper-nationalist displays, while also drawing attention to a sluggish economy in which many Chinese citizens have curtailed or “downgraded” their consumption spending:

Zhihu question:
“What’s one sentence that proves people have downgraded their consumption?”

Answer from Zhihu user 时代之:
Ten years ago, people proved their patriotism by destroying Japanese cars.
Five years ago, people proved their patriotism by destroying iPhones.
Nowadays, people are proving their patriotism by destroying bottles of Nongfu Spring Water. [Chinese]


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