When I read this New York Times article on the reactions by the Chinese to demonstrations in France and CNN’s news coverage of the situation in Tibet:

BEIJING — Armed with her laptop and her indignation, Zhu Xiaomeng sits in her dorm room here, stoking a popular backlash against Western support for Tibet that has unnerved foreign investors and Western diplomats and, increasingly, the ruling Communist Party.

Over the last week, Ms. Zhu and her classmates have been channeling anger over anti-China protests during the tumultuous Olympic torch relay into a boycott campaign against French companies, blamed for their country’s support of pro-Tibetan agitators. Some have also called for a boycott against American chains like McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

I had two reactions of my own. The first reaction was at the shoddiness of the story. Do the NYT writers think that Chinese students don’t use the Internet? Or have notebook computers? They were using fax machines for organizing 20 years ago why not computers and the Internet now? Is that what the news is?

And France is now “the West”? Part of “the West”, sure. But did “the West” disrupt the Olympic torch passing ceremony? Are boycotts of British and German companies planned, too? I wonder what the NYT writing standards are for use of the term, “the West”?

I can understand Chinese students organizing boycotts of French goods. Why would they organize boycotts of American vendors? Are they? Or is this the return of the notorious “some”, i.e. the author is making it up?

The second was bewilderment. Had the U. S. government reaction to the situation in Tibet been any more temperate it would have been catatonic. What could Chinese students think that the U. S. government might do? Shut down CNN? What might they think that boycotting KFC would do? Would Pepsi (KFC’s parent company IIRC) remove its advertising from CNN? Does Pepsi advertise on CNN?

If they really wanted to get to us they might organize a movement to have Chinese companies stop selling the U. S. tires, heparin, toothpaste, and wheat gluten. Bring it on!

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