making themselves heard

April 20th, 2008

And so it seems Chinese people are making themselves heard in France. But two little things stuck out at me, a little comparison suggests itself. In the second article, the one about Chinese protesting in Paris, we have this:

Un rassemblement pour réaffirmer le soutien de la population chinoise aux JO de Pékin, «contre l’injustice médiatique» , afin, disent-ils, de «rétablir la vérité sur le T1b3t». «Après les émeutes de Lh@ss@, tous les journaux ont adopté une voix unique, contre la Chine, sans se soucier de la vérité. C’est ce qui a monté la population française contre nous le 7 avril, lors du passage de la flamme à Paris» , explique-t-elle. «Nous étions tellement fiers que ces Jeux aient lieu en Chine, poursuit Joanna. Le 7 avril, nous voulions faire plaisir aux Français. Mais la fête n’a pas eu lieu. Après les incidents lors du parcours de la flamme, nous étions tous écœurés et profondément blessés. L’idée de ce rassemblement est née quelques jours après.»

A gathering to reaffirm the support of the Chinese people for the Beijing Olympics, “against media injustice,” and, they say, to “reestablish the truth of T1b3t.” “After the Lh@s@ riots, all the papers adopted one single voice, against China, without bothering about the truth. This is what put the French people against us on the 7th of April, when the flame passed through Paris”, she explains. “We were so proud that these Games would take place in China,” continues Joanna, “On April 7th, we wanted to please the French. But the party didn’t happen. After the incidents around the passage of the flame, we were all sickened and deeply hurt. The idea for this gathering was born a few days later.”

Sounds perfectly reasonable to me, and the article suggests that the resulting demonstration was entirely reasonable and that the aim of this group is to increase dialogue between French and Chinese people and restore China’s image. Fair enough.

Then from the article about the anti-French demonstrations in China, we have:

Des photos publiées sur des forums internet confirmaient la présence d’une large foule défilant à Wuhan. Des manifestants portaient un drapeau français maculé de croix gammées et traitant Jeanne d’Arc de “prostituée”.

Photos published on internet forums confirmed the presence of a large crowd marching in Wuhan. The demonstrators carried a French flag defiled with swastikas and calling Joan of Arc a “prostitute”.

Oh dear. Perhaps not the best way of communicating your ideas to the French people. It’s not hard to imagine how Chinese people would react to having symbols of their World War 2 occupier added to China’s national flag or the moral integrity of China’s national heros slandered. Somebody needs to relearn that “do unto others” principle- and no, it does not end with “….before they do unto you”.

And I really shouldn’t post so quickly: Both Le Monde and Le Figaro have articles about the anti-French protests in China. Le Monde includes a photo of the protest in Wuhan, in which plenty of five star red flags and banners are visible, but no French flags, let alone defiled French flags. Can’t see the banners clearly enough to read what they may or may not have to say about any of France’s national heros or heroines. Interesting, though, that Le Monde’s article says nothing about swastikas or prostitutes. Le Figaro has a picture of protesters blocking the entrance to the Hefei Carrefour, but you wouldn’t know they were protesters unless the caption said so- no banners, flags, or any of the accoutrements of protest are visible at all. In fact, it looks like a snap of any regular weekend Carrefour crowd- these people could just as easily be shopping as protesting. But:

Des manifestants portaient un drapeau français maculé de croix gammées et traitant Jeanne d’Arc de «prostituée».

Ah, so Libé was right.

Alright, enough of the French media.

23 Responses to “making themselves heard”

  1. Matthew Stinson Says:

    I like the new layout. More whitespace!

    I found a shot of the French flag defaced here:

    I wonder why the French newspapers didn’t carry it.

  2. wangbo Says:

    Thanks for that. I’m also curious why the French newspapers didn’t carry it,and why Le Monde didn’t mention it, or why L’Express apparently had nothing about the protests at all.

    And I can’t figure out what the wrote about Napoleon and why that wasn’t mentioned in the newspapers.

    I’m also wondering about the large amount of English on the flag. I mean, they got Jeanne d’Arc right, and Napoléon with the acute in the right place, so surely there was somebody there who could’ve figured out they should’ve written “prostituée” instead of “prostitute”.

  3. hualian Says:

    I’m more surprised that many Chinese people would even have a vague idea of who Joan of Arc is. In any case though, protests have an uncanny ability of attracting all kinds of people, often times overly emotional or irrational people. I doubt this Carrefour thing will last very long, boycotts of that sort in China seems to have a great inclination of sputtering out with out much actually happening. Case in point, given the calls for anti-Japanese boycotts a few years ago, there’s probably more Honda or Toyota vehicles on the streets of Beijing or Shanghai now then perhaps ever before.

  4. wangbo Says:

    Well, considering they wrote “Jeanne d’Arc” and “Napoléon”, one of the guys with the French flag clearly had studied at least a little French, so it’s not too surprising. I’m guessing that most of the protesters had no idea who he was referring to, though.

    Yeah, I arrived in China only a few months after the embassy bombing in 99. My boss told me the local McDonalds had been boycotted after the bombing. By the time I got there, it was back to business as usual, almost impossible to get in the door the crowds were so huge.

  5. chinese student abroad Says:

    really sad to see the torch relay turning into this situation. I can only say that people who have such extreme hatred towards France are a very small portion of us. Most people just refuse to go to Carrefour for these few days. And many people also know that this boycott has to end sometime, as long as we see some effects in the Europe.

    Just as you guys have always said how Chinese are brain washed, in this issue, I seriously think many Europeans are not objective at all and do not really understand the problem while protesting on the streets and shouting at Chinese students.

    What we want to see is Europeans face Chinese history and leave the arrogance aside.

    Anyway, I dont wanna see the hatred growing like this.

  6. chinese student abroad Says:

    i dont have a proper personal website…but i left my email…

  7. wangbo Says:

    Chinese student abroad, thanks for your comment. I agree completely, and I have to say I have been disgusted with the behaviour of so many in the West over the last couple of months. It would be nice to see them put their arrogance and prejudice aside and deal with reality.

  8. chinese student abroad Says:

    hi, wang bo, u r Chinese right? studying or working in France?

  9. wangbo Says:

    No, New Zealander, working in Beijing, studying Chinese in my spare time.

  10. chinese student abroad Says:

    I think you might wanna see this.

  11. huang bin Says:


    that is my real name…u can call me bryan though.

  12. wangbo Says:

    Thanks, Bryan. I’m having trouble getting that video to work, though, looks like it’s been GFWed.

  13. chinese student abroad Says:

    Dalai Lama and Dorje Shugden, Part 1
    This is the title of the video. If you cant open it, then perhaps you wanna read more on this issue within the Tibetan community in the exiled government.

    Thanks for being objective.

  14. wangbo Says:

    Thanks for that. I’ll try reading more.

  15. wangbo Says:

    Wow, I don’t know if I want to read more. Googling those keywords seems to have landed me in the midst of a controversy I am not equipped to understand.

  16. chinese student abroad Says:

    basically its about dalai’s control over people. The confict between his logic and demand and people’s wish.

  17. wangbo Says:

    I gathered that. It did not do much to increase my respect for any of the people involved. And I naturally despise anybody who seeks control over others, too. Basically, I prefer to seek truth from facts, not blindly believe whatever superstition has the best marketing tactics.

  18. bryan Says:

    what i was surprised was just that even within their own community, not everyone believes in Dalai…

    I personally think Tibet will not be handed over to a better hand if it actually gain independence or “high autonomy”

  19. wangbo Says:

    Good point. He gets so much coverage in the media, you could be forgiven for thinking he was the be-all and end-all of the whole issue, when reality, as always, is far more complex.

  20. bryan Says:

    r u Caucasian or Asian Australian?…
    sorry to ask, haha

  21. wangbo Says:

    Bryan, not that it matters, but I’m Pakeha (caucasian New Zealander).

  22. bryan Says:

    How is Beijing?
    I have been busy with my exams so dont really have time to follow up what has been happening with Torch relay. But I’ll read your blog sometime if you update your view of the issue. =)

  23. wangbo Says:

    My little corner of Beijing is quiet as per usual, not as warm as this time last year, though. Exams, yeah, I have HSK tomorrow morning, not looking forward to it. I’ll keep updating with my views of whatever catches my attention, if you keep reading, cool.