French Retailer Faces Chinese Anger Over Olympic Torch Incidents

French retailer Carrefour is feeling the full force of Chinese anger. A string of its stores in China is facing protests and boycotts after the Olympic Torch was waylaid by a bunch of protesters, in what was one of the worst legs of the Torch’s tour.

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French pro-Tibet supporters tried to grab the Torch in chaotic scenes in the French capital, and the incident had ruffled more than a few feathers in Beijing. The stores outside Hefei, Qingdao, Shenzhen, Kunming and Wuhan have been the scenes of some of the loudest protests, as Chinese demonstrators carried anti Tibetan independence and anti French banners. The protesters are angry not just at the disrespect shown towards the Torch – which on its round the world journey has stumbled from one group of hecklers to another, leaving the Chinese furious – but also the announcement by French President Nicolas Sarkozy that he was reconsidering his decision to attend the opening ceremony of the Games.

Across China, the mood has also rapidly turned against Jin Jing, a disabled athlete who had been elevated to the status of a Chinese heroine after she steadfastly held on to the torch as a Paris protestor tried to grab it. Jing recently dared to speak out against the anti French protests, saying a majority of employees at Carrefour stores in China were Chinese who would suffer if a boycott against Carrefour continued.

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