Some want to go further than just Internet sloganeering. The Ming Pao Daily reports that some Chinese want to fight boycotts with boycotts. Though the leaders of the Tibetan movement, including the Dalai Lama have not called for a boycott of the Olympic Games, the Ming Pao reports that some are calling on all Chinese people and their government to not go as tourists to European countries, especially France and Germany, which have been opened up to Chinese tourists for the last three years.
The boycott call also targets French products. There is even a list on the Internet of products to boycott. It includes Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Citroen and Air France. Coca Cola has also been singled out for ire. Though Coke is an Olympics sponsor, it ran an advertisement featuring three monks on a roller coaster under its slogan "Make it Real." A Chinese blogger on the popular Tianya website read that to mean "Make (Freedom) Real," the roller coasters representing freedom.
Even Chinese American actress Joan Chen has gotten in on the debate. In an op-ed for the Washington Post Chen writes that hoping that protesting the Olympic torch will help 1.3 billion Chinese people gain more freedom and rights "could not be further from reality."
The media war has been polarizing says Alex Jones, Pulitzer Prize winner and director of the Shorenstein Center of the press and public policy at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. "My impression is that the portrait being painted by those sources (Western media) is one of crackdown and force by China's government," says Jones. "And I have been told that the internal Chinese media refer to Western coverage by comparing it to Goebbels' propaganda for the Nazis."
Tibet is only a pawn in struggle between superpowers says the United Morning News based in Singapore. But the protests and the backlash have united the Chinese in a way they have not been since World War II, when they faced Japanese invaders.
Their feeling of victimization has been re-awakened by the Tibet issue and especially the Western media's coverage of it. Some of the most furious Chinese are the ones living abroad. Many of them have complained about seeing Chinese antiquities, representing thousands of years of history, sitting in European and American museums.
The feeling of victimization was apparent in one flag carried by some San Francisco Olympic torch supporters. It read "May 4th, China."
On May 4, 1919, Chinese students led people from all walks of life onto the streets to protest the Chinese government signing a "humiliating" agreement following the World War I. Though the Chinese were on the winning side, they were about to sign an agreement that would have allowed Shandong Province to be occupied by another country. The protests forced the Chinese government to back down. That movement has been recognized now as a turning point in modern Chinese history.
But how powerful a glue is the sense of victimization? Another poster on MITBBS.com says, "China has never been short of spine. But China doesn't have a faith, which can keep its people being glued together. It's not Taiwan or Tibet independence, nor Olympics. Nothing temporary works forever."
Comments? Send a letter to the editor.
Albion Monitor April
11, 2008 (http://www.albionmonitor.com)
All Rights Reserved.
Contact email@example.com for permission to use in any format.