Wednesday, April 23, 2008

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The Chinese response to the Olympics protest

In my last post on the Olympics brouhaha, I voiced some concern about how the mass Chinese public would react to protests and statements of concern from the West.

Over the weekend, we stated to see the blowback, as CNN reports:

Protests against Tibetan independence have continued Sunday in several Chinese cities, according to the country's state-run news agency.

Demonstrators also expressed their anger about what they see as biased reporting of the Tibet story by Western media organizations including CNN.

Protesters gathered outside the French supermarket Carrefour in several Chinese cities including the northwestern city Xi'an, and the northeastern city Harbin and eastern city Jinan, the agency reported.

The demonstrators expressed anger at the way protests disrupted the Olympic torch relay in Paris on April 7. During Sunday's demonstrations in China, some held banners condemning "Tibet secessionists in France tearing up the Five-Star Red Flag," according to Xinhua.

Over at FP's Passport, Drew Kumpf points out that we're beginning to see the blowback among Chinese expats as well:
[T]here were also demonstrations by the Chinese community on Saturday in five Western cities: Berlin, Vienna, Paris, London and Washington. Xinhua news agency reports thousands of participants in the European cities and hundreds here in Washington. With signs like "Love our China" and "You can't find this from BBC... Stop disrupting the Olympics" there is a clear, organized international effort to get the message out that many overseas Chinese also oppose the affronts to the Olympic games and the related media coverage. The silent protest in Britain attracted 3,000 participants and was the first public demonstration on the part of the Chinese community there.

Recent fervor has demonstrated a strong, unified voice on the part of the Chinese community....

While many may call it misguided for its lack of respect for human rights, the Chinese position shows sophistication in political advocacy: Adopt a unified stance and get the widest possible coverage to spread your message. Though the synergy is the result of the people and the government touting the same line, it's an impressive campaign for a country with a state-run media. It's also worth pointing out that, unlike people within China itself, these expats have access to the gamut of information on their homeland, and yet they still feel strongly that the Western view is biased.


posted by Dan on 04.23.08 at 10:17 AM


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