Carrefour denied claims made on the internet that it has supported illegal Chinese political organizations and Tibetan independence, the South China Morning Post reported. In a statement posted on its Chinese-language website, the French retail giant called the accusations "completely fabricated and groundless," adding that it would never "hurt the Chinese people’s feelings". Earlier in April an internet appeal for a boycott of French goods began circulating following protests at the Olympic torch relay in Paris. Action has taken place offline as well, with small groups of Chinese citizens protesting outside of Carrefour locations in Kunming and Qingdao. Carrefour has 122 stores on the mainland and employs more than 40,000 people.