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Op-Ed: Anti-US Protests at KFC Outlets Are Anything But Patriotism

(People's Daily Online)    04:43, July 21, 2016

This photo taken on Tuesday, July 19, 2016 via AP shows motorists watch people gather to protest outside a KFC restaurant outlet in Baoying county in east China's Jiangsu province.

Amidst the farce of the South China Sea arbitration, the spirits of patriotism have been uplifted across China. Opinions have been voiced which have strong hold in morality. Passions are awakened and also restrained with reason. In the court of public opinion, Chinese people echoed the national mechanism and media outlets, offering firm grounds for solving the South China Sea disputes.

Meanwhile, the soar of patriotism embodies itself in saying no to certain actions. After the South China Sea arbitration, some instigated our young people to take to the streets and boycott foreign goods. Merely a few, however, responded. Rather, many criticized those who put up protest banners in front of KFC outlets and those who post fake articles on the Internet to call for march on the streets. The round of “patriotic actions” have triggered heated debate both online and offline. Some say this small group of people is doing disservice to our national good, some say the action is not in accordance to the spirits of patriotism at all, while there are others who affirm such “simple patriotic passion”. The ultimate questions we have to raise here is: What are the real patriotic practices in China today, and what constitutes a mature and healthy mentality for China as a great rising power in the world?

To a certain extent, patriotism is more towards about ability than emotion, and it is an ability to use rational thinking. In today’s world, the principle of law is the common language, and in today’s China, the rule of law is fundamental to our national rejuvenation. At present, throughout the dealing with the South China Sea disputes, China has insisted on using the international law to defend our national interests, and in this way we have achieved the support from over 70 nations and regions. It is a lessoned learned from this experience that only through respect of law and the lawful rights of others, can we prevent the “patriotic passion” from turning into “silly love”.

Patriotism is not only about the stance, the results of it are also vital. All practices that are beneficial to the national good should be considered patriotic. In turn, for those who hold a belief that being “patriotic” means that they can do whatever they want and totally ignore orders, public interests, and law, they are merely hypocritic patriots.

When the globalization has turned the whole world into a “village”, loving a country no longer means localism. Patriotism today suggests tolerance, openness, and confidence. All these should constitute a mature and healthy mentality for China as a great rising power in the global community. 

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