Dylan Jones: If you ask me

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The Independent Online

If you ask me, this year's furore over China hosting the Olympics hasn't even properly begun. We all expected there to be demonstrations interrupting the tour of the Torch, but I don't think many of us expected so many anti-Western outbursts by indignant Chinese. In the last few weeks, millions of young Chinese people (many of them students) have been signing online petitions expressing their anger at the Western media's support for Tibetan independence.

Last week more than 20 million people signed a petition saying they planned to stop shopping at Carrefour, Louis Vuitton and other shops linked to France as a result of what they see as that country's failure to protect the Torch during its visit to Paris. There have also been demonstrations in America, where the huge Anglo-Chinese community has been comprehensively ignored by US news organisations since the troubles began.

Ten days ago, as I was driving to a meeting in Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, I cut across Sunset Boulevard – a strip usually full of blondes in open-top sports cars – and was stopped by around 1,500 Chinese-Americans demonstrating outside the CNN building. They were there principally to object to the refusal of the news channel's commentator Jack Cafferty to apologise for calling the Chinese government "goons and thugs" and the crowd was full of people hoisting placards denouncing him. Others said: "No support of the Tibetan terrorists", "Apologise Now", and "Honk if you love China" (I didn't) while a few had even disturbingly superimposed the CNN logo on to the Nazi flag.

As I crawled by, an eloquent voice was reasoning via loudhailer, repeating for the likes of me and any other passing non-believer, that Tibet had been a part of China since God was a boy and that we should all mind our own business. They were the most polite bunch of demonstrators I think I've ever seen, which made the brandishing of Nazi regalia even more ominous.

By the time I reached the Urth Caffe on Melrose, the loudhailer had faded like a pro-democracy protest in Tiananmen Square, although there is no doubt that this one will run and run and run.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

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