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.
Links and Sources
Jobs in China
Henry on The Eurasian Face
Caroline W on Big in China
Michael on Julia Lovell on translating Lu Xun's complete fiction: "His is an angry, searing vision of China"
Brandon K. on Clueless academic takes on popular fantasy novels
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The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
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From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Korean history doesn't fly on Chinese TV screens (2007.09): SARFT puts the kibbosh on Korean historical dramas.
+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.