People in several Chinese cities joined boycott campaigns over the weekend against US fast-food chains in a show of protest against Washington’s perceived meddling in South China Sea disputes.
Accusing Washington of manipulating an international court into delivering an adverse ruling against Beijing, “patriotic” Chinese shunned restaurant chains such as KFC, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.
Showing their anger over last week’s ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, several citizens heeded calls issued online by some nationalists.
The Hague tribunal declared on July 12 that China’s claims to historic and economic rights in the South China Sea have no legal basis, in a case brought by the Philippines.
It ruled that Beijing had breached the Philippines’ sovereign rights by endangering the smaller neighbor’s ships and fishing and oil projects.
Suspecting that the US government had a hand in the anti-China court verdict, Chinese citizens targeted American fast-food chains in a protest.
They were confident that a two-day campaign over the weekend would be powerful enough to send a message to Washington as well as the rest of the world.
Many of the targeted restaurants saw fewer customers than usual on both Saturday and Sunday, according to mainland media.
Residents in Leting County in Tangshan city in Hebei province held banners outside a local KFC restaurant on Sunday, calling on people not to patronize the outlet.
One of the banners bore this message: “Eating KFC food from the US is a disgrace to our ancestors.”
Police officers were conspicuously absent at the scene.
While many citizens joined the protests across several Chinese cities, there were also some people who questioned if the anti-US actions make any sense.
Commentators pointed out that millions of Chinese continue to use smartphones made by Apple, for instance.
Elsewhere in Asia, hundreds of Vietnamese staged a rally in Hanoi on Sunday to protest against Beijing’s refusal to accept the international tribunal ruling on the South China Sea.
The protesters were eventually dispersed by the police. About 30 people were arrested as they were marching to the Chinese embassy.
[Chinese versin 中文版]
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