By China Watcher
It is confirmed that there has been a two-third decline (about 70%) in Chinese tourists to France this summer.
The French Ambassador to China commented that over the past few weeks he has personally witnessed a sharp decline in the number of Chinese people traveling to France based on the number of visas issued.
I believe that the government has not imposed a blanket boycott of French cities in the Chinese tourist map but I was led to understand that the people are fed up with the French unfair support of the Dalai Lama during the recent Tibetan protests and the shameful disturbances to the torch relay in Paris not too long ago. Furthermore, the French Mayor is an anti-China supporter and he has also openly declared his pro-Dalai Lama stance.
Mr. Ladsous told the press that in the first few weeks of this month, the embassy was issuing an average of just 300-400 tourist visas per week, down from about 2,000 a week over the same period last year
Qin Gang, spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry, said recently that the Chinese government follows the principle that people from different countries should enjoy more exchanges so as to better understand each other.
I do not agree with the Shanghai Morning News, that the recent decrease in the number of Shanghai residents traveling to Europe - including France - is due to difficulties in getting visas and rising airfares. In fact, there are statistics which proved that the travel bookings to the other parts of the world have actually increased.
An opinion polls conducted by this blog (though with a small number of respondents) has shown that many Chinese now have negative feelings toward France.
The damage to France's image is irreversible and it will take a while before the Chinese people could forget the whole incident.
The Chinese people are very practical in its social human interaction and seek cooperation from people throughout the world but it must be seen to be based on sound reasoning and judgment. The past events this year alone provided sufficient evidences that the French people do not respect Chinese people opinions but more so based on one-sided prejudicial stance and narrowly focus only on one aspect of the relations, that is, human rights compliance. Even on this matter, they were blinded by their clear hatred of the majority Han Chinese and supported the Tibetan protesters who were actually human rights and law offenders (in the actual sense) when they initiated the riots in the few Chinese provinces.
From the historical standpoint, China-France relations have solidified throughout many years in which there were sincere official meetings and people to people exchanges but lately, there are very few of such “building blocks” since the ascension of the government of Mr.Sarkozy.
With the rise of China as an economic superpower, it is essential that France should take heed that by going against the government they are also antagonizing the Chinese people (who are very proud of its achievements) for the sake of pleasing the many anti-China critics of which I shall refrain from naming them here.