Posted by: Third Tone Devil | 25 March 2009

Chinese in France protest TV programme on restaurants

According to a 23 March article in the Paris newspaper Ouzhou Shibao  欧洲时报, a 19 March programme on Channel 2 of the national television alleged that 80% of Chinese restaurants and takeaways were unhygienic and showed footage of illegal Chinese food processing workshops. The next day, representatives of the restaurant industry and of Chinese organisations met at the Chinese embassy and expressed their “(out)rage and protest” 愤怒和抗议. They announced plans to lodge a complaint with the French media watchdog and possibly file a lawsuit.

The article got picked up by media in China, such as Huanqiu Shibao, and from them by online portals where it promptly resulted in calls to boycott French goods (as well as to buy even more American debt to show China’s strength). This comes, of course, in the wake of the Yves Saint-Laurent auction and China’s cancellation of an Airbus order.

Scary reports in European media about Chinese restaurants are frequent, and sometimes plainly biased, even defamatory. What is interesting here is that the protest meeting was hosted by the Chinese embassy, although the owners of Chinese restaurants in Paris tend to be either French or Southeast Asian nationals (though I am sure this is changing). In this way, the state is able to appear supportive of overseas Chinese and get some points woith nationalists, while officially staying out of the affair.

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