China’s “raging youth” (and don’t worry, we’re all fine here)

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); fènqÄ«ng 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:

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.

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