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People in China are smashing iPhones and mobbing KFC in 'patriotism'

Chinese nationalists are boycotting KFC outlets and smashing their iPhones in protest of American companies.

Chinese state media called for "rational patriotism" Wednesday amid a number of anti-U.S. protests in recent days about the outcome of a United Nations tribunal that ruled against Beijing in its spat with the Philippines over territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Chinese nationalists have protested at KFC outlets and called for boycotts of the fast-food chain while photos and video circulating online and on social media show people wearing scarves and banners with patriotic slogans smashing Apple iPhones in protest.

The case against China was brought by U.S. ally the Philippines but the protesters' public anger has been fueled in part by Chinese government accusations that Washington encouraged Manila to oppose Beijing’s claims to the vast tracts of ocean.

Last week’s ruling by the U.N. tribunal in the Hague found there was no legal basis for Beijing’s claim to most of the South China Sea. Despite the overlapping claims, Beijing has been undertaking vast infrastructure projects in the area to secure natural resources and control strategic shipping lanes.

China's leadership has tried to tamp down this week’s protests with demands in state media to leave foreign companies and their customers alone.

“This is not the right way to express patriotism,” the state-run Xinhua News Agency said Wednesday. The China Daily newspaper called the protests “jingoism that does a disservice to the spirit of devotion to the nation.” The People's Daily, a mouthpiece for China's ruling Communist Party, urged calm and "rational patriotism."

“The Chinese public, as optimistic and positive as they are, are deeply patriotic and nationalistic, especially people who are younger,” James Roy of the research firm China Market Research Group, told the Associated Press.

KFC and Apple “are just closely associated with the U.S., and you are seeing people picking the closest symbol they can think of to demonstrate against,” he said.

KFC is China’s biggest restaurant chain with more than 5,000 outlets. It is overhauling its struggling business there after a food scandal and marketing missteps. Apple has faced a series of legal hurdles this year in China.


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