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Chinese rally in support of Beijing Olympics against "Tibet independence"

2008-04-30 00:00

When Huang Jinshao posted the clip "Tibet was, is and will always be a part of China" on YouTube in early March and then saw it gather nearly 1.2 million views in three days, he probably would not have predicted that this sentiment was not only confined to the Internet, but spread across the country.

Chanting "Oppose 'Tibet independence'," "Support the Olympics," and "Go China," demonstrators took to the streets in mid April in Beijing, northwestern Xi'an, central Wuhan, the northeastern Harbin and Dalian, eastern Jinan, Hefei and Qingdao and southwestern Kunming.

Pan Yuming, an engineer and one of the protesters in Kunming, said they wanted to express their anger at the Western support for "Tibet independence" and did not want to cause social disturbance.

"I am in such a fury that people would tarnish an event that the Chinese have been looking forward to for so long," he said. "Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the Olympics is not the kind of forum for politics."

He is not alone. More than 20 million people have signed online petitions saying they plan to stop shopping at Carrefour, Louis Vuitton and other stores linked to France because of what they see as that country's failure to protect the Beijing Olympic touch relay journey through Paris.

Meanwhile, about 2.3 million MSN users have attached "I love China" icons to their online profiles as an expression of solidarity against Tibetan separatists.

Not everyone in the online community, however, agrees with the boycott idea. For example, some pointed out that Carrefour's staff in China mostly are Chinese, who might be hurt by a sales fall-off.

"What happened in France showed that some French did lack true understanding of China, including the Tibet issue," said Zhou Xing, with the College of Art and Communication of Beijing Normal University.

"But I think we need to separate economic activities from politics and focus on improving foreigners' understanding about China," he said.

The public is also venting its indignation online toward Western news outlets for their one-sided coverage of the torch relay, and anti-Chinese bias in their reporting on the disturbances in Tibet.

"Don't be too CNN" is a phrase that is gaining increasing popularity on the Internet. A rap song titled "Don't be too CNN" has been improvised by a Chinese web singer and posted on YouTube.

The lyrics of the song goes: "Don't believe that lies will become mottos when they are repeated a thousand times… what's the purpose of racking your brains to turn fraud into truth. Don't be too CNN. I would rather believe you were silly and innocent."

In the wake of the March 14 Lhasa riots, CNN posted a picture on its website showing people running in front of a military truck. The original picture uploaded by Chinese netizens, however, also shows mobsters throwing stones at the truck. The latter had been cropped out of the photo by CNN.

Again, during the broadcast of CNN's "The Situation Room" on April 9, when asked to comment on the U.S. relationship with China as the Olympic torch relay was underway in San Francisco, CNN news commentator Jack Cafferty said: "I think they're basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been in the past 50 years."

He also said that the United States continues to import China-made "junk with the lead paint on them and the poisoned pet food."

Rao Jin, a Tsinghua University graduate, publicized the website www. anti-cnn.com to display the picture and snapshots. "The media should be telling the truth, not injecting their point of view into reports. CNN is just one example of how the Western media is biased. What stands behind the distortion is misunderstanding and bias toward China," he said.

Amid the growing intensity of popular passion, Chinese government advised its people to channel their patriotic fervor into a rational track and transform it into real action toward doing the daily grind well.

"To better serve the fundamental and core interests of our country and show real patriotism, we need to show the Chinese people's calm, wisdom and unity in a complicated international situation," said an editorial of the People's Daily, the Communist Party of China's flagship newspaper.

Zhang Xingxing, deputy director of the Institute of Contemporary China Studies, said, "China is now closely connected with the world, it has to deal with conflicts. Whether or not it handles them well affects the country's future development."

His opinion was shared by Ye Xiaowen, head of the State Administration for Religious Affairs of China, in his essay. "We believe the world will smile on us if we smile on it," he wrote.


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