Posts Tagged ‘Beijing Olympic Torch Relay Boycott’

Chinese urged to boycott French goods

April 10, 2008
Chinese urged to boycott French goods

By Geoff Dyer in Shanghai and David Pilling in Narita

Published: April 10 2008 22:13 | Last updated: April 10 2008 22:13

Chinese consumers have been urged to boycott French goods in response to the raucous protests that accompanied the Olympic torch through Paris.

The appeal, circulated on internet chatrooms and bulletin boards, indicates the protests earlier this week have not only embarrassed the Beijing government, but also ignited a strong nationalist reaction among sections of the Chinese public.

Signs of fresh disagreement emerged on Thursday between the government and the International Olympic Committee over the human rights situation in China.

Jacques Rogge, IOC president, said that when China was awarded the 2008 games government officials promised it would “advance the social agenda of China, including human rights”.

He said: “We definitely ask China to respect this moral engagement.”

The protests that have accompanied the torch relay presented a “crisis” for the Olympic movement, said Mr Rogge, who has gone out of his way not to antagonise the host nation.

The Chinese government said the IOC should defend the commitment in the Olympics charter to avoid politics and “bringing in any irrelevant political factors”.

Beijing also said on Thursday it had arrested 45 “terrorist” suspects who had been planning suicide bomb attacks and the kidnapping of athletes. The suspects all come from the heavily Muslim province of Xinjiang on the north-western border.

During a visit to Japan, the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, struck a conciliatory note. He said the Chinese people deserved the Olympics “despite unfortunate events in Tibet”.

But he welcomed support for the Tibetan cause seen in this week’s protests. “It is their right to criticise. I have no right to say ‘Shut up’,” he said. He supported only non-violent protests, however.

The appeal to boycott French goods appeared on the internet on Wednesday and has spread widely among young Chinese. A web page bearing a petition appeared to have been blocked on Thursday afternoon.

Companies named in the campaign include luxury brands owned by LVMH, such as Louis Vuitton and Givenchy, and the cosmetics group L’Oréal, which has a large business in China.

The torch relay in London was badly disrupted and the route of the San Francisco leg was changed at the last minute to avoid protests, but it is the events in Paris that appear to have angered Chinese most.

Internet postings complained about the banner in support of human rights draped outside Paris city hall. A photograph of a man trying to grab the torch from a Chinese girl in a wheelchair drew many responses. The man wore a hat in the colours of the Tibetan flag.

Several foreign brands in China have suffered damaging firestorms of internet criticism in recent years. A campaign against Japanese companies three years ago had little lasting impact.

Indonesian officials said on Thursday they had cancelled an April 22 Olympic torch relay around Jakarta. After receiving a request from Beijing, they have changed the route to confine the torch to the vicinity of the main sports stadium.
Additional reporting by John Aglionby in Jakarta