KFC briefly made focal point of anti-US protests
Police and media organizations are calling for rational patriotism after sporadic protests against the United States broke out across China in the past few days triggered by the Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague’s ruling on the South China Sea issue.
Video clips posted online have shown protesters who believe the US was behind the ruling demonstrating outside restaurants owned by the US fast-food chain KFC in cities in Hebei, Jiangsu, Shandong and Hunan provinces starting on Monday.
Many demonstrators held red banners saying “Join the boycott against US, Japanese and Philippine companies, and be a patriotic Chinese” and stopped people from entering the restaurants. Police officers were dispatched to the protests to maintain public order.
A KFC employee surnamed Lei in Chenzhou, Hunan province, confirmed there had been a small protest outside the restaurant on Monday. She said that business returned to normal on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a woman in Tangshan, Hebei province, filmed her protest on her mobile phone. The video was widely circulated on social media on Tuesday. In the video, the woman walked into the restaurant and told customers that it is they who pay for the bullets for the US.
Yum! Brands Inc, China Division, which operates the KFC chain in China, declined to comment on the protests.
The protests have been criticized by the police and public.
After one such protest was held at a local KFC, police in Ganyu district, Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, issued a statement on Monday urging people to not get involved in illegal protests instigated via the internet or social media.
In Siyang county, Jiangsu, police posted on their micro blog the message, “Love your country, but please don’t take out your anger on its people.”
Pu Yu, 27, a Tangshan resident who works in Beijing, said she did not understand such behavior. “They are simply creating chaos in the name of patriotism. If KFC closes down, it’s the locals who will be out of jobs.”
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