Page last updated at 10:06 GMT, Friday, 18 April 2008 11:06 UK

China activists 'must curb zeal'

Pro-Tibet and pro-Beijing demonstrators in San Francisco, 09/04
Pro-Tibet and pro-Beijing protesters clashed in San Francisco

China's state-run media has urged citizens to contain their "patriotic zeal", after an outburst of anti-West sentiment on the internet.

Xinhua news agency said the fervour should be "transformed into concrete actions to do one's own work well".

It comes after a slew of anti-West campaigns on the web - among them a call to boycott French products.

Some websites even list the names and addresses of pro-Tibet campaigners and invite users to post abusive messages.

Bloggers and commenters on web forums have reacted strongly against perceived anti-China bias in the Western media since protests broke out in and around Tibet last month.

The pro-Tibet rallies that accompanied the Olympic torch's procession through Paris sparked an outcry among Chinese web users - and a call to boycott all French goods.

The Xinhua commentary, carried only on its Chinese edition, praised the boycott demands as an "unadorned expression of patriotic zeal and a sincere demonstration of public opinion".

But it balanced the praise with a warning not to challenge the government's policies of opening to foreign investment.

"Thirty years of reform and opening up have created a China miracle... but we must be crystal clear that for China that has endured so much, the future road will not be all smooth-going."

China has made similar efforts to rein in outbursts of public anger in the past.

In April 2005 it called for calm after destructive anti-Japan protests triggered by the publication of a controversial history textbook - protests which initially appeared to have tacit official support.

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