Carrefour needs catchy mobile meme

nocarrefoursms.jpgHot off the extremely reliable mobile SMS chain comes news that Carrefour and the French government have banned together to concoct a special May Holiday sale to lure Chinese customers away from their boycott.

And not just that, French TV is hoping to catch it all for the 6-o’clock news, presumably to put the French people’s minds at rest, and hearts at ease, that their largest shopping chain in China isn’t going unattended.

法国政府准备拿出两千万美金,家乐福自己再拿出五百万美金,用于五一降价促销,听说家乐福高层很狂妄,让中国人在五一降价中挤破家。
The French government has prepared 20 mil and Carrefour has prepared 5 mil to use for a May Holiday sale. The owner of Carrefour is very arrogant, believing Chinese people during May Holiday will buy excessively at Carrefour.

法国电视台也在积极做准备,拍摄中国人到家乐福疯狂购物的景象,让中国人自打自的嘴。如果你是爱国的中国人,把此信息传给你的亲戚朋友,不要到家乐福购物,不要为了丁点的小便宜,而丢了尊严,丢了民族志气,让外国人笑话。再不能让外国人把我们看作东亚病夫了。
French television is also actively making preparations to capture Chinese people madly shopping at Carrefour, showing Chinese people punching their own mouth [being hypocritical]. If you are a Chinese person who loves your country send this message to your relatives and friends, don’t go shopping at Carrefour, don’t gain a little advantage while losing your respect and national ambition, and allow foreigners to laugh at you. We’ll never let foreigners look at us as the “Sick Man of Asia” again.

我们的努力可能微不足道,但大家团结起来一定要让外国人看看我们的力量,有良心的中国人转发一百个朋友,爱国的中国人转发二十个朋友。
Our individual efforts maybe mean nothing, but if everyone unites, we can show foreigners our power. If you are a Chinese person of concience, you’ll send this message to 100 friends, if you are a Chinese person who loves your country, send this message to 20 friends.

The news the media (legions of French reporters hiding in behind the milk powder isle) are trying to capture isn’t that the Chinese are a bunch of Carrefour-shopping hypocrites. The news is how easily the country is stirred into a nationalistic frenzy based on relatively trivial – or completely false – things.

Rumours, the lot:

The reasoning behind all the animosity towards French products in China comes from two main sources, both of which have been muddied into an unrecognizable mess of anti-truths all the better suited for punchy SMS messages:

1. The president of Carrefour routinely gives money to the Dalai Lama.
This is completely out of whack. The boycott messages aren’t speaking about José Luis Duran, they are talking about Bernard Arnault – a wealthy French entrepreneur who is also chairman and chief executive of luxury goods group LVMH (Louis Vuitton, Hennessy and Fendi). Him, along with Colony Capital own only a 10.7% share in Carrefour. On a stretch that 10% may be cause for some Chinese to consider alternative shopping plans, IF Arnault hadn’t categorically refuted allegations that he backed the Dalai Lama in any way. With his company poised to grab the billions of dollars in imports to China, why would he?

2. The French government supports an independent .
The original call for boycott reads as follows:

The Olympic torch relay that just ended in Paris is not as peaceful as most of Chinese know about. Let’s see what French and its government have done when Chinese carried the torch, a symbol of peace and friendship into their territory.

  1. Before the relay, a French TV station called on people to protest on street for the reason that they “don’t want Chinese flags flaunting all over”.
    ** Likely. Protesters are known for canceling plans on short notice just to stop an over abundance of Chinese flags. Happens all the time.
  2. The torch was forced to extinguish for 4 times under the violent disruptions of separatists.
    ** China should be asking itself why that happened.
  3. The French police in charge of security simply stood by to see the separatists snatching the torch, and striking the disabled torch carrier.
    ** Jin Jing (the disabled torch carrier) wasn’t struck – a protester simply tried to grab the torch from her. The fact that she’s gone on to say she still doesn’t understand “why” they were grabbing it says a lot about the education system in China, and possibly explains the power these SMS memes have.
  4. At where the torch went by, hordes of French waved the flag of separatists, clamoring “Free “, “Shame on China” to protest against China.
    ** Such is everyone’s right in ‘free’ nations
  5. Groups of young men even scrambled the Chinese students’ Five-star flags and tore them up, two sides in conflict.
    ** Sounds hollow. Truly doubtful they were French though, as it seems extreme for a French national who just happens to support a free to go about roughing up Chinese and tearing apart their flags. If it were Chinese nationals however, I might believe it. Either way, little to do with Carrefour.
  6. When the sacred fire passed by the City Hall of Paris, the banners and slogans of pro- independence were hung out and all the alderman put on the pro-separatism badges, a behavior that made the planned ceremony there canceled.
    ** Wrong again. The ceremony was canceled because a banner hung outside city hall that read ‘Paris defends human rights everywhere in the world‘. Not exactly a pro- statement, just a show of support for human rights and a reminder that some countries are historically lax about them. Hardly something anyone should boycott about.
  7. The major media in France reviewed the torch relay with such headlines— Fiasco in Paris(Figaro) and A Slap on China.
    ** I think that’s a pretty fair assessment, but nothing compared to the fiasco in China now.

So, explain to me again, why should I boycott Carrefour? And if I were Chinese, what would happen to me if I refuse?