Protestors rallied outside KFC outlets in reaction to the South China Sea international tribunal ruling
The Chinese media have criticised the numerous anti-US protests outside KFC outlets across China as jingoistic.
Protestors were angry about the international tribunal ruling against China in regards to the South China Sea territorial dispute with the Philippines. China has accused the US of encouraging the Philippines to challenge China. The tribunal ruled that there was no evidence for China’s claim of historic rights to the area in question and said that China was violating the Philippines’ sovereign rights by carrying out operations there.
The protests began in Hebei and later spread to other places in China including Changsha and Hangzhou. There have been reports of protestors shouting anti-US slurs with banners saying “get out of China, KFC and McDonalds”.
There are over 4,000 KFC branches in China and as a result, the restaurant franchise is often seen as a symbol of US influence. State newspapers disapproved of the protests, saying that authorities were “calling for rational patriotism”.
State news agency Xinhua said,
“This is not the right way to express patriotism.”
China Daily newspaper said,
“Instead of being patriotic, it is their jingoism that does a disservice to the spirit of devotion to the nation. Those who organise such activities without going through the necessary procedures and unlawfully harass others in the name of patriotism should be held accountable according to the law.”
Protesting in China without seeking permission from authorities is forbidden.
Chinese protestors have also taken to smashing iPhones in demonstration of their anger at the US. The Shanghaiist reported that a man wearing Nike shoes was attacked on the subway as a result of wearing American branded shoes.