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Carrefour to investigate calls for boycott
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French retail giant Carrefour has launched an investigation into an online campaign encouraging Chinese shoppers to boycott its stores.

In a survey by Web portal Netease.com, 95 percent of the 43,000 respondents said they were in favor of a boycott.

Users of chat site QQ.com have also appealed for people to boycott Carrefour, Louis Vuitton and The Body Shop in protest at the disruption caused to the Olympic torch relay in Paris.

Li Jing, public relations manager for Carrefour in Shanghai, said the retailer had begun an investigation into the calls for a boycott.

On April 7, the Olympic torch relay in Paris was interrupted several times. The most notable was when supporters of "Tibetan independence" attempted to snatch the flame from wheelchair-bound torchbearer Jin Jing.

However, not everyone in the online community agreed with the idea of boycott.

Some said most of Carrefour's staff in China are Chinese, who would be hurt by the action. Others said a boycott would do nothing to affect the supporters of "Tibetan independence".

Bai Yansong, an anchorman with China Central Television, said he opposed the boycott.

Carrefour sells thousands of domestically made products that are produced by millions of Chinese workers, He said.

"If such boycotts are carried out, Chinese people's interests will be harmed," he said.

Carrefour China released a statement via its website on Wednesday saying the company has not or will not do anything to hurt the feelings of Chinese people.

It said allegations that Carrefour supports illegal political organizations are totally fabricated and lack evidence, adding that it reserves the right to take legal action against any individual or organization that creates or spreads such rumors.

Yesterday, LVMH, one of Carrefour's major stockholders, said charges made online that the group funds pro-Tibet "independence forces" are "completely groundless".

In an interview with French daily Le Figaro, Bernard Arnault, chief executive of LVMH, said his company is not giving financial support to the Dalai Lama.

(Xinhua News Agency April 18, 2008)



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