Planet China

Collective bargain

South Korea’s Jeju is usually a hotspot for Chinese tourists. But when the Costa Serena cruise ship docked at the resort island this month, all of its 3,400 Chinese passengers refused to disembark. The boycott came amid tensions over Seoul’s decision to install the THAAD missile defence system. The refusal left the Jeju tour guides as well as the drivers of 80 shuttle buses with nothing to do. But the decision has been cheered across Chinese social media. “Don’t tell me we Chinese people won’t stand up together,” one internet user wrote. However, some cooler heads soon discovered that the Chinese tourists were in fact staff of a direct-sales firm from Hunan called Resgreen. As with several other companies in China it is seeking to exploit the THAAD row to boost its own profile. “The company has now made a name for being patriotic,” a netizen noted, adding that by not disembarking in Jeju it probably also saved money by not having to spend on food, entertainment and Korean gifts for its staff.

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