I don’t know what they’re showing in the news back home, so we just wanted to post a quick note saying we’re fine and Tianjin is real relaxed and there’s no danger, etc.
In case you’re wondering what on earth we’re talking about, there’re lots of stirred-up, angry folks in China right now. The Chinese term is “angry youth” (愤怒青年); fènqīng for short. In English they’re just called fenqing.
Carrefour (the French Walmart) is being boycotted/protested in cities across the country (because it’s French), and CNN is bearing the brunt of the (vitriolic) anti-Western-media sentiment for misreporting on certain recent events and for airing certain comments from an outspoken commentator. One American in an inland city was
punched around a bit hasseled on Sunday by a mob when he tried to exit a Carrefour.
Our teachers and language helpers are talking about it in class. One of them forwarded me one of the many patriotic/anti-Carrefour text messages going around people’s cell phones. It says:
Carrefour showed its hand, buy 500 get ‘250’ [“250” means “idiot”]. One supermarket and one lofty and unyielding character face one another in confrontation, in the end who wins?! All who don’t go, in order for the world to look up to China. Now must all in one heart please pass this on
家乐福出手了，买五百送二百五。一个超市和一把 傲骨 的对垒，到底谁赢？！谁都别去，为了世界看得起 中国。这次一定要齐心请转发
Some of our teachers are “boycotting” Carrefour, but one complains that Tianjiners are so cheap that that Tianjin can’t pull off a real boycott like other Chinese cities because Tianjiners will shop where it’s cheapest no matter what (ha! – so Tianjin). Because Tianjin is a special economic zone on the coast, it’s a little more cosmopolitan than many inland cities (…I can’t believe I just called Tianjin cosmopolitan! :D ) We aren’t expecting any trouble.
Anyway, we don’t know how this is all being reported back home, and just didn’t want people to worry in case the coverage of overly sensational.
If you’re interested about the situation, here are some interesting, pertinent links in suggested reading order:
- The Olympic Torch Tour As Public Relations Disaster
English translations of the Chinese news media, with images. Shows why France is a special target.
- CNN’s failure to apologize rapped
Explains why people are hating (and hacking) CNN right now. See also China strongly denounces CNN host’s insulting words. Both from China’s English language news media.
- Attack on an American volunteer by anti-Carrefour mob in Zhuzhou, Hunan
Zhuzhou is nowhere near Tianjin.
- Dissenting Chinese voices have a hard time. Here’s one guy’s response to his “fenqing” critics (translated to English).
- “2008 !China Stand Up! 2008,中国，站起来！”
A fenqing music video (with English subtitles, how thoughtful!) that gives you a dose of fenqing sentiment, opinion, and inspiration.
- Anti-CNN.com (English/Chinese)
- carrefourS.com.cn (the anti-Carrefour site)
“Everyone take a look at the videos below, our China’s current plight, after watching do not be upset, do not cry, take everything and transform it into struggle”
If you’re wondering why Mainlanders are apparently so hypersensitive, I suggest starting here:
[Updated 08-05-02]: Text messages are playing an interesting role in Chinese society, from calling the patriotic masses to rise up (quoted above) to funny social satire, as seen here: “The text message as satire.”
No politically-oriented comments allowed – thanks.