Thursday, February 23, 2012

New York protests offer warning to Chinese rich

There aren't many Chinese camping in Zuccotti Park, the home of the ongoing Occupy Wall Street movement. Not a surprise. Chinese immigrants have long been known for being silent and invisible at political events, especially one like this that was started mainly by young white hipsters.

But it doesn't mean there aren't Chinese at the scene. These days tourists from China coming to visit the site of the destroyed World Trade Center and the newly opened 9/11 Memorial seem to have added Zuccotti Park, which is only a couple of blocks away from Ground Zero, as a must-see.

The Chinese tourists won't usually walk into the protesting crowd. They like to walk around the edges of the park, taking some pictures and making some comments within their own groups. The middle aged man I met the other afternoon was a typical example. He exaggeratedly waved his fist to the crowd and shouted jokingly, "We Chinese people support you guys!" before he was pulled away by his laughing wife and daughter.

The curiosity is understandable. Protesting is nothing new in American history and marching and protesting have almost become street fixtures in New York since the 2008 financial meltdown. But for many Chinese tourists, who have only just started to come to the US in large numbers, Occupy Wall Street may be the first major American demonstration that they have witnessed in person, thanks to the long lasting nature, the convenient location of the protest and the lavish coverage in the Chinese media. Read More