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Internet celebrity under fire for wearing national flag dress

(People's Daily Online)    15:54, May 19, 2017

A Chinese internet celebrity has ignited public wrath after being photographed wearing a dress bearing the Chinese national flag at Cannes Film festival. The incident has triggered a mixed reaction from media outlets and the public, with some criticizing the gaffe as an illegal act and others suggesting that the outfit could promote China’s image worldwide.

Zhao Dabao, an actress and online celebrity who has over 310,000 followers on Sina Weibo, posted several photos of herself wearing a Chinese national flag dress at Cannes Film Festival, explaining that she designed the outfit in an effort to showcase Chinese elements and support the country’s Belt and Road Initiative.

“In Western countries, if you wear outfits bearing the national flag, you are treated as a patriot. By wearing this dress, I wanted to show the world that I am Chinese and proud of my nationality! I don’t understand why my compatriots would humiliate and misunderstand me,” Zhao wrote on her Sina Weibo.

Zhao’s remarks did little pacify many detractors, who accused her of tarnishing the country’s image and breaking the law.

“The only reason you wore that ugly dress is because you wanted to become famous. According to the law, the national flag and its design cannot be used as a trademark or for advertising purposes, and cannot be used in private funeral activities. Your behavior broke the law, as you just wanted to advertise yourself,” one netizen wrote.

Some internet users also criticized Zhao’s remarks about “promoting China’s image,” suggesting that wearing the national flag has nothing to do with showcasing Chinese elements, but simply encourages foreigners to laugh at the actress's shallowness.

“As a great nation with 5,000 years of history, there are so many cultural elements that our country can offer to the world. I see no point in wearing a national flag dress at an international event; instead of impressing foreigners, they may feel that our country is stupid and superficial,” another netizen wrote.

Such opinions were denounced by Zhao’s supporters, who said that wearing the national flag should be encouraged, as long as it is done with good intentions.

“If you watch American music videos, you can see that it’s common practice for people abroad to wear outfits with their national flag. Everyone has their own way of showing love for their country. I see no reason why Zhao should be criticized, and I definitely don’t agree that her behavior broke the law. She went to Cannes Film Festival, not a private funeral,” another netizen argued. 


(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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