Still sorry for hurting Chinese feelings, Dior plays patriotic song at Shanghai show

Society & Culture

A string of international brands have recently offended China by publishing improper maps or making statements considered disrespectful to the country’s national sovereignty. To mend their relationships with Chinese consumers, many of them have apologized, clarifying that they fully endorse China’s territorial claims over Hong Kong, Taiwan, and islands in the South China Sea.

But French fashion house Christian Dior went the extra mile recently, playing a popular Chinese patriotic song, “Me and My Motherland” (我和我的祖国 wǒ hé wǒ de zǔguó), at the afterparty of its Shanghai fashion show on October 19.

Per Shanghai-based news website Guanchazhe (in Chinese), this happened after Dior’s extravagant runway show at the Shanghai Exhibition Center, which presented 14 exclusive looks and special performances for China. At the afterparty, “Me and My Motherland” came on as background music. Originally sung by the renowned folk singer Lǐ Gǔyī 李谷一, the song is a classic whose lyrics include, “My dearest motherland, I will always cling to your heart,” and “Me and my country cannot be separated even for a moment.”

Some fashion bloggers at the event shared the footage on social media. As Guanchazhe puts it, “As soon as the music started, people stopped dancing and put down their champagne glasses. A lot of them filmed this bizarre moment with their phones.”

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While Dior hasn’t commented on its song of choice, the intent seems obvious, given that the designer label just apologized to China last week for excluding Taiwan in a Chinese map it used at a recruitment event at Zhejiang Gongshang University.

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In a time when an increasing number of foreign brands have found themselves in China-related political controversy as the protests in Hong Kong have progressed, it’s understandable that Dior wanted to make an extra effort to please Chinese consumers. But the move didn’t seem to register with Chinese internet users, who thought the endeavor was excessive, insincere, and money-driven.

“Dior has a strong desire to survive. It’s down for everything to make money,” a Weibo user commented (in Chinese).

Some people appeared to be more critical of the current trend of forcing brands feeling compelled to take a stance on China’s territorial disputes. “Is this phenomenon actually good?” one Weibo user questioned.