2008 Beijing Olympic Games
Posted by Jeremy Goldkorn on Monday, April 14, 2008 at 12:42 PM
Who looks like the victim?
Image has been cropped - source
Today The New York Times published a piece titled Tibet Backers Show China Value of P.R. Excerpt:
Such sentiments, often articulated with a tinge of schadenfreude, have been common on the opinion pages of Western newspapers in the last few weeks.
It is certainly true that China's image may take a battering in the West because of the Olympics. But this should be balanced against three factors:
Soong also comments:
The online patriotic movement has only gathered strength since the ESWN post was published last week.
The Sina.com online petition to "oppose slitting the Motherland and support the Olympic torch" has gathered almost 2.5 million signatures as of today. Nationalistic forum websites like Tiexue ('iron blood') are predictably exploding with aggression. The Youtube video Tibet was, is and always will be part of China has been viewed more than 2.5 million times as of this writing, and the video Riot in Tibet: True face of western media (based on Anti-CNN.com) has been viewed more than 1.2 million times.
The Chinese government appears to be winning the user generated propaganda war.
2. Third World support
Western countries are not the only ones China hopes to impress with the Olympics.
Tanzanians and Argentinians, whose countries the torch has just been through, were much less enthusiastic than Londoners, Parisians and San Franciscans when it comes to protesting for a free Tibet. The governments of China's friends in South America, Asia and Africa are unlikely to boycott the Olympics, and any tickets thrown away by American senators will make nice little soft power gifts in Beijing's diplomatic circles.
Online PR 'disasters' in China often look worse than they are. In the past, dozens of 'boycott Japan' campaigns don't seem to have stopped any of the nations youth from buying Japanese digital cameras and other goods.
But the French brands named in this Tianya BBS post, a call to boycott French goods, can't be too happy. That post is in Chinese, but it includes a collage of the logos of a range of French companies active in China, so you can see whom the boycott is targeting even if you are illiterate in Chinese. The brands include Carrefour, Louis Vuitton, BNP Paribas, Alacatel and Danone.
The post also includes a few Photoshop prank images, for example, the 'Free Corsica' flag reproduced below that incorporates an image of Carla Bruni, French President Sarkozy's new wife, from a print that was recently sold at an auction In New York.
The Chinese slogan says "Independent Corsica needs our naked support". At least the angry youth have a sense of humor.
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+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!