2008-04-28

Chinese patriotism will backfire, and already does (爱国护奥活动的误区)

I will write this in Chinese, because I intend this as an appeal to the Chinese people, domestic or overseas.

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首先声明一点,这里的观点,是针对民间活动一些策略和战略上的误区。本博客基本上不赞同政府劝退民间活动的理据--虽然这里部分结论有雷同之处。对于中国政府最近的一系列动作,除了公开愿意和DL对话是一个高招之外,窃以为绝大部分是败笔。

民间爱国护奥活动的误区

误区A) 当LVMH和JLF出了声明,法国总统派了特使送了信之后。已经绝对是不应该再缠着JLF不放了。理由如下



  • JLF本来就无辜的
  • JLF显然已对其国内的政治家施加了压力,因此才会有总统特使访华
  • 应该把精力集中于如何惩罚公开宣扬种族歧视的“西嗯嗯”(咖啡提先生)。这有点难度,因为中国人本来就不准看西嗯嗯,有何来杯葛?不过,也不是没办法。比如:
    • (1)"以本伤人"法:已有海外华人对西恩嗯提诉,每个人都可以在提诉。(而且赢面不低)(2)"围魏救赵"法:罗列并定期更新其广告客户及其投放量,选择性杯葛其客户在中国的产品,对戏嗯嗯的客户施加压力,就像让JLF对法国政客施加压力一样。当然,对于其产品不在中国销售的西恩嗯客户,产生不了作用。不过,在意中国市场的西恩嗯广告客户在戏嗯嗯的客户表列里也已挺可观了。
            我不同意政府或晶晶同学反对杯葛的理由(影响到员工和厂商),因为这些员工和厂商完全是可以转到别的超市去的。因为整个国家的零售市场量没变,所以中国队与产品和人员的总需求是一个不变量(其实还会增长)。而且这总量不会因为杯葛JLF而改变。我的结论只是巧合的与晶晶同学和政府的结论雷同。

            我想说的是,继续惩罚JLF会产生更严重的负面(反)效果。就是说,假如JLF看到它做什么都无法改变自己的命运,下一次它还会如此屈服吗?西恩嗯的客户看到,他还会理睬你们吗?

            信赏必罚,是商鞅变法的先行原则之一。我之前反对西梅不分青红皂白抹黑中国,用的也是同一原因

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            误区B) 观众的错位

            中国人民,特别是留学生,犯了一个极其严重的错误。他们要告诉世界,奥运和政治需要分离,奥运是人民的,不是政府的。他们(中国的普通平民)是支持奥运的。不过却偏偏把护炬集会变成一片红旗海洋。 政府和国内网站,竟然会公开支持邮寄国旗到国外去,难道1960年代印尼的教训都玩的一干二净了?

            这些了海外华人团体,没搞清楚一点,就是这是要做给谁看?其他华人需要看这些才知道西梅报道的种族偏向吗?需要知道,有意义的观众只有是外国人。特别是接待了这些海外华人的国家和人民。(民进党输掉台湾选举的原因,不是马英九的帅,而是民进党拼命去讨好自己的铁票,而把中间选民拱手让与国民党)为什么他们不用五环旗?甚至客居国的国旗呢?本来根本就不应用五星旗。在这么多图片里,都是一片红色的旗海,少有五环旗,更从没看到地主国的旗帜。想想看,假如在韩国的同学,举起韩国和五环旗,然后说,奥运是我们的,也是你们的,说服力有多强?加入他们举的是南北朝韩的旗,然后说,奥运缔造一个你们兄弟相见的机会,他们能不感动?可惜的是,我们华人太自我中心,少有站在别人的角度考虑问题。

            本来一直想写,想不到已经太晚了(而且相信区区一小博也改变不了最多热血青年)。日本韩国,都是同属亚洲文化的邻居,已经开始对这些留学生产生了反感。 人家北朝鲜的难民,因为亲人被遣回北朝,抗议不合理吗?这里是人家韩国的地方,你们不能就对人家表示一下同情,希望人家的体谅吗?人家没有打砸抢啊。

            ---
            整场“爱国护奥”活动,本来把握了ZT和欧美媒体犯错的玄机,可以翻盘大胜的公关战。可惜落得赏罚不明,还搞错的观众对象。犯了和ZT势力所发的完全一样的错误。海外学者精英们,是时候好好反省了。

            海外Z人只有二十来万,加上一些好莱坞Scientologists的“同门”兄弟(Richard Gere们)和Hippies,缺乏人才,常犯一些低级错误(如,夸大伤亡数字,120万种族灭绝等损害本身公信力的蠢事),非战之罪也。 我们这些海外留学生,可都是13亿人里通过高考挑出来的精英中的精英。看来我们国内教育的确需要改革了。 留法学生李洹巴黎演讲本来已把握到了要点,可惜得不到一众旅外华人行动的配合,对于法国民众李洹的苦心就只成为一纸空谈。

            相关链接:
            It is time to claim victory and call off the boycott... and why boycott is often a bad idea

            Update: regarding my previous query of quantifying Carrefour's loss, here is some sampling -- seems not insignificant.

            23 comments:

            David Cimini said...

            I wish you wrote an English version; I wanted to read it.

            Codfish said...

            Total agreement on the second point. Maybe this display of patriotism (use whichever term you like) makes the 留学生 feel really good, and maybe their friends on the mainland, but to the outside world, it makes it seem like Chinese everywhere are rabid nationalists who don't want to admit the existence of other viewpoints.

            Furthermore, I think this is a bigger attack on the ideals of the Olympics than anything that happened in Paris. The Olympics have always been about protests (though yes, I agree that Paris went too far), and about grandstanding for human rights issues. But the Olympics are an international event, and I don't think many Chinese at these protests have grasped that. It's corny, but I actually like the slogan 同一个世界,同一个梦想. It makes me sad that these people seem to want to turn it into 中国的奥运,中国的梦想. As you said, the Olympics - and, by extension, the relay - don't belong to China, but rather the world. The protesters seem to be doing their best to change that.

            Sun Bin said...

            david,

            nothing innovative in this post:)
            it is about the tactical and strategic mistakes the Chinese in China and those overseas made recently.

            Inside PRC, they punished Carrefour with irrationality, and discourage any goodwill action from French corporation.

            Outside, while the demonstration objective was to show foreigners that the Olympic belongs to the world. It ended up with a precisely opposite result -- that it serves patriotism/nationalism in China. Worse still, it offended their host nation.
            A proper demonstration should be one using predominantly Olympic flag and that of their host nation.

            Chao said...

            As for the second point, I think I need to point out that: you just cannot win these guys (westerners) anyway. The overseas Chinese used to smile to those guys, does this work? No. If so, maybe it's time for a change.

            It is the western medias like BBC, CNN... who controls the altitude of their local people, not some overseas Chinese students. They decide what to report and when to report. Even some students did a good thing as you suggested, these medias could just ignore them, and continue focus on those anti-China news. In London and Manchester, many Chinese (mainly students I believe) protest againest BBC's biased reports about China in front of BBC building, did ever BBC or Skynews (or whatever other medias) report this? They are more interested in anti-China protests.

            And I don't understand what's the problem of Chinese demonstration, esp. to the westerners. Isn't that the westerners are always proud of having freedom of speech and demonstration? I watched the London torch relay on BBC; remember that a guy trying to grab the torch from the English lady? BBC interviewed her, and she said "I totally understand them. they got their point. People have the right to protest and I am glad thier voice been heard. I feel I am so lucky living in a country people can protest freely"... If this is the case, what's wrong with the Chinese peaceful demonstration? Yes they are peaceful, unlike what the mobs did in Paris (e.g. attacking a disabled girl). If the westerners and medias did not condemn the violent protests and Tibet flags in Paris (and other cities) and shows sympathy for them, then the westerners and media should also be ok with Chinese peaceful demonstration and Chinese flags. That's the logic, isn't? Aren't they supposed to be proud that they are living in a country which allows freedom of speech and demonstration? And they should be happy that the Chinese have finally got such freedom as well. The only conern, however, is that the westerners and medias, again, are using double standards towards pro-Tibet and pro-Chinese. And again, as I said, you cannot win them anyway.

            Sun Bin said...

            chao,

            I think we tend to oversimplify things. there is a whole spectrum of westerner. i disagree with you in that they are not a single/stereotypical type of being. instead you can always win a few of them, whether it be 1% or 10% or 70% I cannot say.

            the whole point of a good strategy is to achieve the maximum impact (in this case to get as many people as you can in the world to sympathize with your cause), with minimum cost. what i see now is, quite obviously, not accomplishing what i would call good strategy.

            88 said...

            >>It is the western medias like BBC, CNN... who controls the altitude of their local people, not some overseas Chinese students.

            The "western media" (which is a ridiculous oversimplification -- much more so than even "the Chinese media") definitely is biased against the Chinese government. I completely agree with that. But what you are missing is that most "westerners" make a clear distinction between the Chinese government and the Chinese people. They tend to think that the Chinese people are poor victims of the Chinese government (false, but at least it is sympathetic).

            What these nationalist displays around the world by Chinese people are doing, though, is convincing a lot of westerners that most Chinese people are just like the Chinese government: rabidly nationalist and incapable of tolerating dissenting viewpoints. That is not good for China no matter how you slice it.

            88 said...

            I just want to add that one of the reasons I say that the phrase "western media" is vastly oversimplified is that Sun Bin's blog is part of the "western media." It is hosted by a western company. It is not blocked or censored by western governments. And Sun Bin is writing it in a free environment.

            That last point is the most important. If Sun Bin (just using him as an example) were writing this blog in a controlled/censored media environment, it would fundamentally change the dynamics of his blogging. Self-censorship -- which is ultimately the most effective tool in any controlled media environment -- would infect his blogging in subtle ways. Not to mention that most of the comments would probably end up getting harmonized.

            Also, even among mainstream media outlets, there is great variation. Read The Nation and then read The National Review. CNN is terrible in many ways, but people who are so upset about its coverage of China should watch FOX for a few days. I guarantee it deserves an 'anti-fox' web site more than CNN when it comes to China.

            Finally, if I went on Chinese web sites and bbs's in China and starting debating these issues with Chinese, my comments would quickly be deleted -- we all know that. The fact that people can debate these topics openly online in the West is also part of the "western media." So people should be a little more careful with the phrase "western media." Most of the time they really mean, "a few of the large, mainstream media outlets in the West." And those media outlets (CNN, FOX, BBC) are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

            88 said...

            >>Aren't they supposed to be proud that they are living in a country which allows freedom of speech and demonstration?

            And

            >>media should also be ok with Chinese peaceful demonstration and Chinese flags.

            I don't think the media or anyone else is questioning the "right" of Chinese to peacefully protest. And they are, in fact, "proud" that they live in a country in which people can protest. However, that doesn't mean they have to agree with the content/motivation of their protest.

            For example, it is legal for white racists to protest against Chinese in the US. Most people would defend their right to do that, but they would still condemn what they are supporting and view them in a negative light. That isn't a "double standard." They are two separate issues.

            The problem is that most people in the West view the Tibet issue in a very simplistic way: if you support the Chinese government by waving Chinese flags and screaming at the Free Tibet people, then you support "beating up monks." End of story.

            88 said...

            Sun Bin,

            韩寒 has some interesting posts on all of this. You should check them out:

            http://blog.sina.com.cn/twocold

            Sun Bin said...

            chao,

            i am with 88s in this issue.

            re: "freedom of speech" yes, they are 2 separate issues as the 88s explained.
            the police allows the demonstration, and the people tolerate it, even though they find it weird and may even dislike it.(i wouldn't say they are "proud", as free demonstration is taken for granted in their countries. they need not be 'proud' just because something that has been allowed for centuries there is not allowed in some other country they barely know. an analogy is that the average Chinese need not feel proud everyday they (or see a foreigner use) used chopsticks because they invented it)

            the problem i see is not exactly what 88s said here (though i think his view is more in line with what those in Oz/US/EU hold, since he "is" one of them -- which means the negative impact is much more serious than what i envisioned). my view is simply that the demonstration does not match the theme (eg MSM biase, Olympic is non-political/belongs to you as well.) None of such message was shown in these crowds (even if there are a few placards, they were submerged in the sea of red flags) -- and something rather opposite was shown (this is OUR Olympic and it is political(natioanl flag)). This is the BIGGEST problem I see.

            There is a commentator "Mike L" who left some suggestions in Washingbureau's blog. I suggest all the Chinese protest organizers go read it. think of him as Wei Zheng 魏征. think of anyone who criticize or disagree with you as Wei Zheng. i think this is what china needs, if it really wants to "glory of the Tang dynasty"

            88 said...

            One of my Chinese friends said to me recently that "we need to explain to Westerners that most Chinese actually do support the Chinese government in many ways, because they tend to think all Chinese hate the government."

            I asked my friend why the hell he would ever want to do that. Sometimes a false stereotype is better for you than the truth. In this case, if most Westerners knew that "most Chinese support the Chinese government" (we can debate to what extent that is true..depends on the issue, etc.), how would that help China? It would make things much harder for China and Chinese around the world, since most Westerners regard the Chinese government as one step above the government of Nazi Germany and Mao one step above Hitler.

            Maybe they are wrong to have that view of the Chinese government. Maybe not. In any case, tyring to convince the outside world that most Chinese support their government makes about as much sense as Americans trying to convince the world that most Americans support the Bush administration.

            Sometimes it is better just to let people think what they want to think.

            Sun Bin said...

            see this NYT article as well. it may not be fair, but this is what they perceive and Chinese needs to play by the 'rule of the game', esp those who resides overseas.

            the link for the commentator here.


            I wonder who is responsible for the methods being used by the Chinese to counter the demonstrations agains the Olympic Torch? The same tactics are being seen in Australia, Malaysia, KOrea, Japan etc:
            1.Assemble large groups, especially students.
            2. Fly the Chinese flag
            3. Block flags and verbally/physically harrass demonstrators.

            If I was Hu Jintao I would be recommending just the opposite:

            1. Encourage small groups, especially older people, children and families.

            2. Wave the Olympic flag and flag of the country hosting the relay.

            3. Bring groups of Tibetans/monks in national dress who support the games.

            4. Encourage activities that pair Chinese and local athletes to support the games.

            5. Avoid confrontation with protestors or at least encourage gestures of reconciliation.


            China has so far missed a major opportunity with this Olympics to present a modern, progressive and friendly image to the world. Instead, it has shown a hostile, reactionary and violently nationalist face.

            Posted by: Mike Lascelles | April 29, 2008 at 01:39 AM

            Sun Bin said...

            I thought the original objective of these demonstration was to show the western society that "the government is not always doing bad thing and it has also done many good", and that "the people are not against the governemtn in all issues, for example, this one".

            it is bizzare that it has now been turned into a patriotic/ nationalistic/ pro-govt demonstration. it makes one think why and provides fodder for those who accuse this has been 'manipulated' by govt (or pro-govt) forces. (and even the govt itself, should know that this is not the best way for its own PR)

            Anonymous said...

            The BBC did report the protests against its own bias, e.g.:
            http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/7356172.stm

            Chao said...

            Some comments:

            "But what you are missing is that most "westerners" make a clear distinction between the Chinese government and the Chinese people."

            Yes, I am very clear about that.

            "What these nationalist displays around the world by Chinese people are doing, though, is convincing a lot of westerners that most Chinese people are just like the Chinese government: rabidly nationalist and incapable of tolerating dissenting viewpoints. That is not good for China no matter how you slice it."

            Like I said, when pro-Tibet protest, they show sympathy; when Chinese protest, they call them nationalist. Strange logic.

            "It is hosted by a western company. It is not blocked or censored by western governments. And Sun Bin is writing it in a free environment. "

            Yes, western country has more freedom. The media environment is better. What's your point here?

            "That isn't a "double standard." "

            See the second point.

            "The problem is that most people in the West view the Tibet issue in a very simplistic way: if you support the Chinese government by waving Chinese flags and screaming at the Free Tibet people, then you support "beating up monks." End of story."

            You think the Free Tibet people is better than those "nationalists"? Come on. At least I never saw the "nationalists" trying to attack a disabled girl. But the problem is can western media show the same level of concern for the two sides?

            "the problem i see is not exactly what 88s said here (though i think his view is more in line with what those in Oz/US/EU hold, since he "is" one of them -- which means the negative impact is much more serious than what i envisioned). my view is simply that the demonstration does not match the theme"

            Good point.

            "魏征"

            Yes, we should learn from him.

            "I asked my friend why the hell he would ever want to do that. Sometimes a false stereotype is better for you than the truth. "

            Refer to Li Ao's artical called "why I support an asshole" (我为什么支持王八蛋). This is not false stereotype; this is politics.

            "It would make things much harder for China and Chinese around the world, since most Westerners regard the Chinese government as one step above the government of Nazi Germany and Mao one step above Hitler."

            So we should let the westerners to decide whether Chinese should support thier own gov? Brillian. If China does not invade other countries, why they care so much if it was another Nazi? By now, their major concern about Chinese gov is that it is against its own people, would the situation be better if they realize it is not the case?

            "In any case, tyring to convince the outside world that most Chinese support their government makes about as much sense as Americans trying to convince the world that most Americans support the Bush administration. "

            Just after 9/11, survey showed Bush's support is about 90%. Before Iraq war, many Americans are involved in the anti-French movement. afterall, the gov is people's gov.

            About the NYT and commentator:
            Like the "poem" said:
            “When we have a billion people, you said we were destroying the planet./ When we tried limiting our numbers, you said it is human rights abuse" Got it? You are always evail no matter what you did. And does France stop making friends with the US because of the fact that US invaded Iraq? NO. Two years later after US (gov+people) "punish" France, "France and US learn to love each other again".

            "The BBC did report the protests against its own bias"

            Thanks for the link. Now BBC is performing better because of the students' efforts. Guess who's next?

            Finally, I agree that more Olympic flags are more useful.

            88 said...

            >>Like I said, when pro-Tibet protest, they show sympathy; when Chinese protest, they call them nationalist. Strange logic.

            One group is made up mostly of foreigners (westerners) who are demonstrating against policies of yet another foreign government. I'm not sure how that group can be "nationalist" since it is a third party by definition.

            The other group is waving the flags of their motherland in support of their own government's policies. It isn't hard to see that group as "nationalist."

            >>Yes, western country has more freedom. The media environment is better. What's your point here?

            Just that people need to be more specific when they use the term "Western media."

            >>You think the Free Tibet people is better than those "nationalists"?

            No. Both groups are supporting what they think is right. Both groups are probably equally ignorant of Tibet -- but in different ways.

            >>So we should let the westerners to decide whether Chinese should support thier own gov?

            No. You should, however, decide when, how, and if it is best to display that support. This is politics.

            Sun Bin said...

            chao,

            i agree with you some MSM have been very biased. well, as 88s pointed out, it has been like this all the time. they had not attracted some much attention in the past, and there were no internet back then.

            e.g. Sino-Indian War in 1962. until mid-1970s (Maxwell's book) everyone outside China thought China started the war. it is a lot worse than the recent event if youa re talking about biase.

            so 88s is right. there is really nothing new.

            the problem now, is what are you going to do about it? and waht can you do about this?
            88s is telling us that telling foreigner you are patriotic does not solve your problem, instead it probably works agianst your cause.

            my suggestion is. you play by their rule (since it is hard to create your own rule where there is already 'rules' outside and it is no that you cannot achieve your objective by playing their rules), and try to convey your message.

            demonstration/internet/any tools are fine. we all see it works to a certain extent. what i tried to say is that if you are not carefully it will stop working, and worse still, it will backfire. the pro-tibetan camp have been very good at playing by these rules. yet we all saw it backfired recently as well.

            Chao said...

            @Sun
            I think we are talking about different things.

            I agree with you that you need to play by their rules.

            What I am trying to say is, under "double standards" (i don't believe this is a seprate issue. Just do some comparisons then you'll understand), the "rule" is vague, playing by their rules is diffucult, sometimes impossible. Have heard about "Catch-22"? And what if the "rule" is "China is evil?"

            And I believe medias like BBC, CNN... are still the most important way that ordinary people get information from. What is freedom of speech anyway? Just how many people are reading this blog (sorry, just an example)? What I see is the western world lacks the freedom of speech at certain point (well, again, I'm not saying China has more freedom). A possbile way to solve this problem is to fight for such freedom as they did before (or maybe own some foreign papers...).

            I appreciate your efforts trying to do something positive to improve the image of China. After all, this is the best thing we (supposed to mean non-politicians) can do now, and again, I support you of the idea that more Olympic flags are needed on this specific issue (to match the theme, and this is just another way to show patriotic).

            Anonymous said...

            I have to say I sympathise with Chao's point.

            *Maybe this is a bit pessimistic* but playing the game is tough when the goalposts move all the time. I think it's better the protesters were honest than anything else. Sure, I don't agree with rabid nationalism (and these guys weren't exactly that) but at least it's not a feint.

            What if everyone turned up with Olympic flags and the West walks away with the subtext, 'sneaky, deceitful Chinese, never saying what they mean, trying to smother their Tibet actions with misleading Olympic enthusiasm'? It's not that hard to imagine such a situation. Fear of the 'other' always falls into two diametrically opposed stereotypes - either of which can be invoked at will to match the situation.

            Let's face it, the Chinese protesters were there to show their support for China, more than the Olympics. I just happen to think honesty is better in this case.

            Regarding the media-savvy Tibet camp. The truth is (and Patrick French mentions this) it has become a victim of its own addiction to Western-friendly publicity. It pushes all the right Western buttons to ratchet up the moral divide, but does little to improve the situation on the ground. For the Chinese to try to play this game too seems like a waste of energy.

            Sun Bin said...

            @chao,

            just a couple note
            1) we will have to assume that there is no single 'objective' (re: your example about 'china is evil'). the western world is still pluralistic, in that every opinion has certain outlet and audience. the difference being the relative size. what you can do is to sway some, but you can never extinguish all (i.e. panda bashers will always be there and you cannot demonstrate them away -- well, my concern is that you are fueling them with ammunition to gather more popularity/support)
            2) i think it is good that now that everyone in china realize there is an 'image problem' and were trying to do something about it. what i would suggest is more research and study of how israel and the jewish community did it.
            it is more about using the economic muscle than demonstration. if china/chinese wants to shift the MSM, this (economic lever) is what should be pulled.

            Sun Bin said...

            @anon above,

            yes, i understand that the student are being straightforward and 'simplistic'. they are just venting their rant and expressing their own true feeling.
            my point in this post is that they are really not media savvy.
            their action will only lead to their further frustration in future.

            since these are smart, well educated people who can reason (i suppose), i hope they can put their emotion aside and do some thinking and planning.
            i do not think think they would want to repeat what happened in seoul if there is a time machine. e.g.

            Chao said...

            @Sun

            about the notes:
            1) I understand there is no single 'objective' ( 'china is evil' is just a example.) I understand we can never extinguish them all. About the concern that "fueling them with ammunition", if that happens then we have to calm them down, tell them to show patriotic "rationally", as you did on this blog. Negative - negative makes positive, that's how things evolve, right?

            2)" i think it is good that now that everyone in china realize there is an 'image problem' and were trying to do something about it." Meanwhile, I have read an article from Newsweek: "Don't feed China's Nationalism". Seems the western world also realized something wrong with their policy and try to avoid it. This is good. This is a lesson both sides (China and the West) can learn from.

            PS. There is a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLTm0xrG-v4) with some good points, e.g. "we can already gain some more credibility if there are not always two different criterions"; "So at first we are not credible when talking to Chinese people if our indignation is not always shown at the same side."

            Anonymous said...

            Where's the comment I left on this thread last night? The one I left on the Tibet thread is there. The one I left here is not.

            Sonagi