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Chinese Protesters Torch French Flag Outside French-Run Supermarket


Dozens of young Chinese protesters rallied outside a French-run supermarket in northeastern China Friday, voicing anger over the recent disruption of the Olympic torch relay in Paris.

The protesters shouted slogans and burned a French flag outside a Carrefour store in Qingdao, Shandong province. Some held up a large banner that read "Support the Olympics, boycott France."

There have been several small protests of Carrefour in recent days, but Friday's rally was the largest yet and comes as China is urging its citizens to cool their anger over international protests of the government's crackdown of anti-Chinese protests in Tibet.

Some Chinese Internet users began calling for a boycott of Carrefour after pro-Tibet protesters disrupted last week's Beijing Olympic torch relay in Paris.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said he is considering not attending the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics and has urged China to sit down and hold talks with Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

On Thursday, China's state-run Xinhua news agency issued an official commentary calling on Chinese to channel their "patriotic zeal" towards economic development.

The commentary appears to follow a previous pattern in which Beijing allows its citizens to express angry sentiments towards outside entities, then tries to rein them in before they spiral out of control.

Angry students and citizens staged violent anti-U.S. protests in 1999 after the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade was mistakenly bombed by NATO warplanes.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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