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A girl stages a lone boycott demonstration in front of a Beijing Carrefour on April 13, 2008.

By Keen Zhang

Looks like the Carrefour boycott has already begun even though the proposed date on the Internet is May 1, a national holiday in China.

A girl staged a lone boycott demonstration in front of a Beijing Carrefour supermarket on April 13, on the same day that several residents demonstrated before a Carrefour in Qingdao, in eastern China's Shandong Province. Both were seen as the starting point of a campaign against French enterprises wanting to enrich their businesses in the Chinese market.

A group of demonstrators protest before the Carrefour in city of Qingdao, Shandong Province, April 13, 2008.

Yesterday, some 30 Chinese demonstrated before a Carrefour in Kunming, Yunnan Province. The organizers brought a 20-meter banner that read: "Support the Olympics; no independence for Tibet; boycott French goods; boycott Carrefour". The event lasted from 10 AM to 2 PM with police maintaining order along the avenue.

Hundreds of passers-by signed their names on the banner.

The Carrefour boycott is one of the boycott appeals that have emerged from the Internet a few days ago as Chinese people watched TV and noted disgraceful disturbances regarding the Olympic torch parade in London, Paris and San Francisco. Many young Chinese blame the chaos on mismanagement by local authorities; others blame various politicians and the media for fanning anti-China sentiments among the foreign public by distorting facts on Tibet and ignoring Chinese voices.

French riot police grapple with a demonstrator trying to grab the Olympic torch in Paris April 7, 2008. (REUTERS)

The Paris stop was singled out because Chinese officials had to change the plan and extinguish the torch five times for security reasons. An image of the disabled female torch bearer, Jin Jing, who suffered under attacks by several Tibetan separatists who tried to grab the torch but failed at that time, triggered widespread Chinese anger that resulted in the current nationwide boycott calls circulating around the Internet, mobile phone messages and chat rooms.

"That may be why Paris lost its bid to hold the Olympics," one patriotic Chinese student quipped to China.org.cn, commenting on how Parisan authorities were unable to effectively manage the street disaster.

The Internet message accuses French enterprises such as Carrefour and Louis Vuitton of backing the Dalai Lama. Carrefour dismissed the claims. French brands such as Carrefour, Louis Vuitton, L'Oreal and some famous French cars were also included in the boycott list.

A fresh statement sent by Carrefour China this morning expressed their thorough support for the Olympics, stating that they never did in the past and will never in the future do anything "to harm Chinese people's feelings".

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