“Would you boycott Proctor and Gamble over a sweet girl like this?”


A reader sent me an email with a good suggestion for a post:

One of Taiwan’s popular models, Lin Chi-ling was recently doing a commercial in the mainland; the commercial called for her to be riding a horse which she was but then the horse threw her and she ended up with a broken rib or something like that and so she was hospitalized. Later after a few days in the hospital in China, Taiwan sent a heliocopter over and brought her back. My details on the above may be a little fuzzy but more or less cover the event. You would think that would be end of story.

However, what has recently developed; some Mainland Nationalistic nuts found out that Lin’s mother and father were supporters of Chen Shui-bian (therefore the implication that they are pro-independence). So the Chinese bloggers have been saying what a bad daughter she is; how bad her parents are etc. to be supporting such a “separatist” president; further they are calling for a boycott of all the products she was advertising.

The Taiwan bloggers have answered in kind; more or less defending their “attractive and popular–because she seems to be a sweet girl–model.” The blogs have been firing back and forth but from all I can see they are in Chinese.

It brings back memories of when A-mei a popular singer of Taiwan was banned in China because she sang the national anthem at Chen Shui-bian’s first inauguration.

Cursory research shows the reader is right, and apparently the mainland bulletin boards are eating it up as well. It’s a superb example of a non-issue whipping people up into a frenzy. What motivates the bulletin board busy-buddies to go bonkers like this? Is there any sense of rationality or critical thinking? Are they just a pile of dried timber waiting for a spark to light them into a frenzy?

Just asking….

The Discussion: 38 Comments

I’ll do a TV commercial for Procter and Gamble for free, if I can get her phone number.

August 13, 2005 @ 10:06 pm | Comment


it’s 876-5309.


The Chinese would turn on Mickey Mouse if they knew Walt Disney was anti-communist.

August 13, 2005 @ 10:10 pm | Comment

Don’t blame the Chinese, you can’t have the cake and eat it too.

Taiwain Independence is a very sensitive issue for Chinese, and there are always radicals everywhere that would call for boycott in similar situations. Most Chinese will just laugh it off in my opinion.

August 13, 2005 @ 10:30 pm | Comment

I sure hope so, because if a lot of Chinese people take this shit seriously it could freak American companies out, and that would mean a reduction in foreign investment on which China thrives.

August 13, 2005 @ 10:34 pm | Comment

Yeah, kind of the way it has Japanese businesses.

August 13, 2005 @ 10:39 pm | Comment

Nah, you guys worried too much. If majority of Chinese supported the boycott, P&G will either have to withdraw the commercial or figure out a way to ride free commercials if there are a lot of publicity on this. It is just business.

Comparing this to Japan doesn’t really make much sense since we are talking about an American company and this sentiment has nothing to do with American.

August 13, 2005 @ 11:04 pm | Comment

Wawa’s right – those few extremists in the wilderness are always going to be the ones who makes themselves heard the most.

August 13, 2005 @ 11:32 pm | Comment

Um, actually it does make sense.

Many Japanese businesses have responded to the anti-Japanese lunacy by reducing their investments in China.

As Richard noted above, other foreign businesses could very well respond in the same manner in response to stuff like this.

August 13, 2005 @ 11:35 pm | Comment

I would boycott P&G for another issue.

BTW, Richard,
Although I wouldn’t boycott LIN ZHILING for her pro-independence mother, I couldn’t blame Chinese bloggers either. They are doing something for their belief.

P&G won’t quit China market for sure. Nobody makes bigger bucks than they do.
I am also glad to know Japanese business has less desire investing China. They are highly regulated by their government anyway. Won’t do much good to China in the long run. Chinese government should take measures to reduce the risks due to these non-market oriented regulations of Japanese government. However it didn’t. On the other hand, Chinese customers are doing their job. An Ironic issue.

August 14, 2005 @ 12:20 am | Comment

Many Chinese are sensitive to Taiwan Independence? You mean sensitive to DE SURE independence surely? Taiwan has been DE FACTO independent for the best part of 60 years.

Yes, I’m sure this action is restricted to a handful of extremists. If I were to walk outside now and start advocating Taiwan’s de sure independence I’m sure I’d be engaged in a splendid intellectual debate on the subject. I’m sure I’d enjoy a lively and good-spirited exchange of views.

This is just like the story of those customers of Carrefour in Shanghai who were outraged that a tin of fish had “Country of Origin: Taiwan” written on it.


August 14, 2005 @ 2:53 am | Comment

Just shows how ridiculous this rah-rah patriots are. Yesterday we had freedom fries today this.

“Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.”

August 14, 2005 @ 2:56 am | Comment

I phoned the number you gave me for Lin Chi-Ling, and I was redirected to a recording of CCTV-9’s “Culture Express”. Then the announcer said:
“Surely we can see there are many more beautiful sights in China. It can be very convenient for you to learn China culture.”
Then my phone exploded.

August 14, 2005 @ 3:19 am | Comment

the case of Lin Chiling would have been nothing. as a spokesperson for P&G and other advertisers, she knew that she had to be apolitical. and she was that.

except her parents used her fame for their politcal purposes in this case.

for example, you can see the welocme home banners at the airport at:
which says things like “We thank China for providing medical treatment for our country’s daughter” and “Wecome Taiwan’s daughter home to her own country.” If they want to use their daughter to push “One Strait, Two China”, they should expect some blowback, shouldn’t they?

August 14, 2005 @ 4:26 am | Comment

Wow Lin- I always wanted to know what those organisations were… That’s ridiculous! How can they be allowed to get away with such misleading -no- LIES? They could just as well use the American Dental Association as I’m sure it would be more impressive than any Chinese one noone’s heard of. I remember when I worked in Greece being surprised to buy toothpaste with the Canadian Dental Association’s seal of approval.

Now that I remember… as a kid I made a conscious effort to boycott McDonald’s for financially supporting the IRA- 10% of its revenue went to supplying them with funds, arms and training. What REALLY goes on in Ronald McDonald’s House? I don’t know where the hell I got that from… Now I just boycot McDick’s because of it being a posterboy for American corporate imperialism. I do make allowances for their milkshakes however…

August 14, 2005 @ 6:55 am | Comment

Haha, allowances for their milkshakes indeed.

Re the lady’s parents at the airport with posters, I hardly think that the average Chinese Internet uber-nationalist requires that level of provocation before getting their patriotic knickers in a twist.

The fact that this ladies parents are DPP supporters (gasp) like most of the country is quite enough and the fact this daughter of splittists is advertising stuff in the glorious motherland (gasp) obviously is far too much for your average paranoid-obsessive patriot to handle.

August 14, 2005 @ 7:39 am | Comment

I notice that already there have been 15 comments on this hardly earth-shattering theme- could it be that simply in providing a picture of a model I’ve never heard of, it provokes a response? Sure doesn’t require any effort on Richard’s part; I mean he just put an unflattering picture of his leader with only the caption “This is George W. Bush”. Before he thinks he can get away with this and begins to just copy and paste leaders inside the US administration and from abroad, someone can just persuade him to give us more links so I could find out more about this intriguing woman. I don’t mean to wikipedia, either.

August 14, 2005 @ 8:16 am | Comment

He lied about that phone number, too

August 14, 2005 @ 8:17 am | Comment

Like Japan (Gordon was right to make the comparison), Taiwan’s status is almost a perfect push-button issue for the mainland government. Regardless of what our own opinions are (I’m anti-independence, pro-autonomy status quo myself), one is struck that everyone in the mainland, even critics of the Party, appears to hold the same opinion of the “separatists.” As such, it’s not surprising that Lin Chi-ling has been automatically convicted in the court of public opinion.

Even if she came out tomorrow and rebuked her parents, the old Chinese political habit of visiting the sins of the parents upon the children would keep her an object of ridicule. Enh … something has to keep the BBS hotheads busy, right?

P.S. Richard, last time I saw cheesecake like this on your site you were posting pics of Harisu. Glad to see this one is all-woman. Heh.

P.P.S. If the disclaimer about my position seems out of place, it’s because living here has conditioned me to sidestep Taiwan that way almost automatically during conversation.

August 14, 2005 @ 9:09 am | Comment

Well a bit more seriously from me:
1. Whenever my Chinese students (most of whom have been mature people, around 30 years old) have asked me about Taiwan, I have always told them:
“Taiwan is YOUR problem, NOT mine! YOU deal with it! Most Americans don’t even know where Taiwan is – most Americans don’t even know where CANADA is!….and they don’t care…..” ๐Ÿ™‚
2. My personal inclination is to favor reunification between the PRC and Taiwan, because I believe Taiwan will subvert and ruin the CCP if it ever reunites with the PRC. I HOPE Taiwan will reunite with the PRC, the sooner the better! And most of what remains of traditional Chinese culture is in Taiwan, so, if Taiwan reunites with the PRC, then the PRC will become more civilized.
3. A bit more cynically, the PRC/CCP obsession with Taiwan reminds me of Nazi Germany’s obsession with taking back Alsace-Lorraine.

August 14, 2005 @ 9:37 am | Comment

PS, one of my Chinese postgrad students told me:
“We go to Taiwan and we look around and we say, OH! OH! THIS is what Chinese culture is REALLY like!”
And so I HOPE Taiwan will become part of the PRC soon, so that China can begin to rediscover its true cultural heritage.

August 14, 2005 @ 9:42 am | Comment

Good morning.

Lin: Although I wouldn’t boycott LIN ZHILING for her pro-independence mother, I couldn’t blame Chinese bloggers either. They are doing something for their belief.

There’s nothing wrong with doing something you believe in. But if your belief is based on blatantly stupid nonsense, it makes you appear rather moronic (not you, but the BBS posters).

ESWN, thanks for adding that information about her parents, which gives us some perspective. However, it only seems to strengthen the argument that the slightest idiotic thing re. Taiwan sets these automatons into a delirious, self-intoxicated tizzy. Alarming.

Matthew, thanks for remembering Harisu. I still get more google searches for her than nearly anything else (although the phrase for which I get BY FAR the most hits, especially around June 4, is “Tiananmen tank man”).

Keir, sorry I didn’t offer more links to Lin – this post was based on an email I received, which I posted in full. If you do a Technorati search, there’s plenty of material on her. And about the Bush photo – I didn’t even put in a caption! Just a headline that doesn’t even reference his name, “Lest we forget.” And that’s enough to set off comments. Maybe I should just turn this into a photoblog with no commentary. It would sure be a lot easier for me.

August 14, 2005 @ 12:26 pm | Comment

Well, what do you expect from fenqing? They don’t believe in letting people have views that are different from their’s, so of course they were going to go AWOL.

One more reason why China should not be allowed to make Taiwan rejoin the mainland against her own will.

August 14, 2005 @ 1:47 pm | Comment

I am amused by these programmed response about Taiwanese ‘separtist’ activities or anything concerning Taiwan. If one were to look at history, the fact is that Taiwan has never been part of the PRC or ruled by the PRC. Taiwan did not even come under Chinese jurisdiction until the Qing Dynasty when they won Taiwan by military conquest. Then it was given away to Japan after China lost the Sino-Japanese war in 1895. So these comments about Taiwan being an inseparable part of China is hogwash. Yet, people are programmed automatically to react angrily whenever the word Taiwan is mentioned. It seems like they are hypnotized to respond this way.

August 14, 2005 @ 7:31 pm | Comment

I had a brief thing on this too:


which also includes a story on Louis Vuitton’s brush with nationalist fanaticism.

August 14, 2005 @ 8:03 pm | Comment

The stupidity of some comments here is just like the comments of ridiculing Bush for invading Iraq. They are typical among lefty intellectuals.

You can argue all you can that Iraq has nothing to do with 911. The sentiment in US at that time is to invade Iraq due to the fear generated in 911. No matter how you ridicule that decision, there is still a significant amount of people who believe invasion decision is correct. Those people are neither extremist nor stupid redneck.

Back to Taiwan issue, you can belittle the sentiment among chinese and attribute totally to CCP. No matter how smart you think you are, there is a significant amount of people have a strong sentiment about this issue.

August 14, 2005 @ 8:06 pm | Comment

“The PRC/CCP obsession with Taiwan reminds me of Nazi Germany’s obsession with taking back Alsace-Lorraine.”?
Shome mishtake, shurely? True once they retrieved it they had a massive propaganda drive to get the citizens feeling Germanic, but having lost over a tenth of their land after Versailles, including ALL its colonies, I would think the strategic port of Danzig is a more apt comparison. After all, it was what Htler next demanded after breaking Munich and taking Czechoslovakia. Maybe you should have said China’s obsesion with Taiwan mirrors France’s with Alsace-Lorrainne, an integral part of the motherland cruelly taken from it through war.

August 14, 2005 @ 8:22 pm | Comment

Germany had very strong claims to both Alsace Lorainne and to Danzig. Far more justifiable than China’s claims to Taiwan.

August 14, 2005 @ 8:30 pm | Comment

The sentiment in US at that time is to invade Iraq due to the fear generated in 911.

Steve, that wasn’t the mentality of the US. Bush forced it upon us woith scare tactics and one of the biggest PR drives in history. The reasons were invented, with Cheney going on every show saying Saddam was involved with Al Qaeda and implying he was involved in 911.

This is important. The nation was rather shocked when suddenly we shifted our attention to Iraq. But we trusted in our government, and assumed they knew what they were doping. A lot of questions were raised, but Condi’s “mushroom cloud” scenario and stories of aluminum tubes convinced us and won us over — even me. But no one, absolutely no one in America believed in the wake of 911 that the answer to terrorism was an invasion of the secular, Al Qaeda-hostile Iraq! That view was pounded into our heads in 2002 with what we believed were facts, all proven later to be deceptive, if not calculated lies.

August 14, 2005 @ 8:48 pm | Comment

Germany’s claims to Alsace-Lorraine, Danzig, and the Sudetenland were based around the assertion that they should be reunited with Germany because the local population wanted it. China’s claim to Taiwan is based around the assertion that
it should be reunited with China, even though the local population doesn’t want it. So yes, Germany’s claims were much stronger than China’s.

August 14, 2005 @ 9:36 pm | Comment

More C-Pop Babes

Wen Lan aka Landy

She has the best ass shaking videos I have seen in China, and frankly she gives J-Lo a run for her money. Finding her videos on the net is next to impossible, and the quality is bad. All they have of her in China is VCDs. I did se…

August 14, 2005 @ 9:59 pm | Comment

Let’s don’t forget the world is played by power politics.

To most Chinese, Taiwain is just the last puzzle in an unfinished civil war. If America didn’t intervene, Mao probably would have taken Taiwain at the end of the civil war, and just like Tibet we will not be seriously talking about whether Taiwain should be part of China or not.

The intervention of America saved Taiwan from rule by China which had a few decades of dark politics and failed economic policies. Taiwain is now a democratic self-rule country which could really serve as an example to study pros and cons of a democratic China given the similar culture, even though Taiwain is too small comparing to China.

Taiwain is strategically important to China and even though it was labeled as “an unsunkable aircraft carrier”, it really can’t go anywhere. As China grows its might, it will have more chips to play the power politics game than before against Taiwain.

August 14, 2005 @ 10:13 pm | Comment

“Germany’s claims to Alsace-Lorraine, Danzig, and the Sudetenland were based around the assertion that they should be reunited with Germany because the local population wanted it. ”
Well, yes, but who asserted them? I would probably disagree with you and Richard about the strong links between A-L and Germany (Taiwan’s links with the mainland are much more substantial albeit not in a material sense due to the straights) as A-L only joined Germany through the 1870 Franco-Prussian war, the beginning of which did not even have a Germany per se. Where there were strong demands for reunion with the German motherland there were typically pleibicites (ie- Schlesweig, Upper Silesia). Danzig was a port givebn to the League of nations, had no autonomy and was OPEN to all- can’t see the comparison with Taiwan. As for the sliver of land of the Sudeten, if memory serves they were handed to Hitler in the Munich Agreement; no one at the time seemed to disagree with Hitler’s demands for German self-determination. The Sudetens supported German reunion- in these cases you mention, do you claim the same hiolds true fo Taiwanese?

August 14, 2005 @ 10:58 pm | Comment


The rout of the Chinese Communist forces at the Battle of Kuningtou pretty clearly demonstrates that the Communists would not have been able to take Taiwan in 1949, even without US intervention.

Your other points about the realpolitick of the situation are fair enough in themselves, but they fail to address the central question, which is, why should the people of Taiwan be denied the right to self-determination, which has been at the foundation of international law since the end of WWI?

August 14, 2005 @ 11:47 pm | Comment

Martyn: A small repeat typo. you meant to write “de jure” in lieu of “de sure”. Richard, to second Keir on your Alsace-Lorriane argument. My education on this was French (so you know what that means), which is that both have been traditionally French for hundreds of years. It was the taking of Alsace and Lorraine which triggered the “revanchiste” movement to recover that territory, and thus it was an emotional issue with the French. I was taught that the great majority of the population between 1870 and 1918 remained French in loyalty, and German (in Alsace) in language and culture. Bismarck (who opposed the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine under the theory that the French would never forgive it) intended to unite all German independent states under a single banner, but it was Hitler who carried that beyond the idea of uniting German states, to uniting all German “volk” under a single “reich”. It does not surprise me that the Chinese should support an “anschluss” any more than Ho Chi Minh did, and he launched a war to ensure his. I fear that China will inevitably do the same.

August 15, 2005 @ 12:06 am | Comment

Un mille des mercies pour l’aide, lirelou.

August 15, 2005 @ 1:05 am | Comment

“Steve, that wasn’t the mentality of the US. Bush forced it upon us woith scare tactics and one of the biggest PR drives in history. The reasons were invented, with Cheney going on every show saying Saddam was involved with Al Qaeda and implying he was involved in 911. ”

The vision of Bush is that democracy is the solution for middle east conflict, and US has a moral responsibility to push that. I guess no democrates are challenging that theory.

By accepting that theory, choosing Iraq as starting point is simply a logic solution. The difference between democrates and GOP is that Bush has the zeal and guts to do it while Clinton did not.

No one will say the root for Iraq mess is that the above theory is a lunacy. Moral, partriotism and democracy are a powerful combination that is hard to say no. It will take an extraordinary fiasco to make people to do that.

August 15, 2005 @ 9:51 am | Comment

Steve you really don’t know what you’re talking about. This is not about “guts,” it’s about planning and preparation and strategy. Bush had so much guts he told us the Mission wasa Acomplished long ago like a superheo, and then our soldiers started bewing slaughtered and he sneered, “Bring ’em on.” If that is guts, then I don’t see it as a great quality. None of the objectives have been attained and they never will be. If there were proof that there is a truly functional democracy in Iraq I might believe you.

Meanwhile, should we invade China and try to give them a democracy? It would take a lot of guts. But I think it would be insane, illegal and wrong, even though a lot of people suffer there from the government. Who says Americans should give their lives to bring democracy to other countries? If that is true, we will be very busy and we will lose a lot of our population fighting wars in many countries.

Meanwhile, the real threats are still there – Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Iran. But because Bush showed such wonderful “guts,” we are powerless to confront them. Guts are really wonderful. Hitler had guts. So did Stalin and Mao. So does Osama Bin Laden, the man who went to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. Guts can be a gift or a curse. And personally, I don’t think the GOP has shown much guts, sitting on their fur-lined toilet seats while the poorer, less educated Americans spill all the blood, with none of the Young Republicans showing their true belief in the war by offering to help win it.

August 15, 2005 @ 10:18 am | Comment

“it’s about planning and preparation and strategy. Bush had so much guts he told us the Mission wasa Acomplished long ago like a superheo, and then our soldiers started bewing slaughtered and he sneered, ‘Bring ’em on.’ ”

Richard, regime change for Iraq is a bipartisan concensus. That kind of approach is a long standing practice of US for the regimes it dislikes. Am I wrong?

Democrates did not like the result in Iraq. But they did not disagree fundamentally with Bush’s vision.

The invasion of other countries by US to enable regime change is not the first time, and it will not be last time either.

I am not defending Bush. I just want to say Bush is the product of US system, not an abnormality.

August 15, 2005 @ 12:08 pm | Comment

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