Blogs, internet forums and text messages circulating in China
have urged consumers to boycott French goods in response to
the protests that accompanied the torch relay in Paris.
Popular anger at chaotic scenes which saw pro-Tibet protesters
grab the flame from Paralympic fencer Jin Jing has been inflamed
by detailed accounts posted on the internet by eyewitnesses.
The blog EastSouthWestNorth translated the most notable of
these posts from popular Chinese internet forums and
One bystander waiting by the Seine for the torch to pass found
himself involved in the scuffle for the torch. He recounted his
experience on popular Chinese-language forum Tianya.
"The brave girl lowered her head and used her back to shield
the torch. The thug pulled her shoulder back and hit her...
Tears rained out of my eyes. I was sad and angry.
Here was an unarmed girl who was handicapped, and the thug
had to hit her?"
The anger and the bewilderment at the actions of the protesters
is palpable in one of the response posts: "Who is abusing
human rights? Who is bringing violence to this world?"
Lists of products and brands to boycott, including Louis Vuitton and
French retailer Carrefour, have been widely circulated.
Blogger Wang Jian Shuo says several of his friends have started to
boycott French products and describes the impact of recent events
on his own thinking: "If you need an example, I am the person in
China who were turned from pro-France to anti-France within few
days. .. I don't think France is a friendly country at all."
John Kennedy, who translates and collates highlights from the
Chinese blogosphere for Global Voices, has highlighted instances
where the online community has targeted certain individuals -
and even taken its opposition offline.
He cites the example of Grace Wang, a Chinese student at Duke
University in the US, who was spotted by other overseas Chinese t
aking part in a Free Tibet protest, which led to what he describes
as "torrents of horrid abuse and at least one lengthy human flesh s
earch engine witch hunt" which began on the Chinese language
online portal Tianya.
If we use nationalism as the weapon to resist the westerners,
then how can we persuade the ethnic minorities to abandon
Chang Ping, Journalist and blogger
The EastSouthWestNorth blog talks about "human flesh search
engines" as a phenomenon where an online community is mobilised
to track down specific individuals or facts.
In this case a friend of the student concerned has written to
Global Voices to say that the harassment was so serious that
the student's home in China was attacked with rocks.
An internet manhunt - complete with "Wanted" posters - for the
man who allegedly wrestled the torch from Paralympic athlete
Jin Jing has also been launched on the Chinese language anti-
The media monitoring blog Danwei highlights the case of Chang
Ping, a journalist and blogger who was labelled as a traitor
on China.com forums - criticism which also made its way to
Chang Ping was attacked for his essay "How to find the truth
about Lhasa" in which he says: "If we use nationalism as the
weapon to resist the Westerners, then how can we persuade
the ethnic minorities to abandon their nationalism and join
the mainstream nation-building?"