Catching Up on French Reports from China

Today, prepping a piece on Ai Weiwei in the German press, I popped a few dozen links (beginning with my own “European Sources on East Asia” in my homepage sidebar) and was quickly swimming in excellent, original data from the Francophone world.

Why not share it?

Like this television report from Beijing about the luxury trade in China and those who work in both its heart and at its margins:

Or some footage of President Sarkozy at the new French Embassy in Beijing, exalting in his “duty [devoir]” (“Because it is my duty, it is a pleasure, it is my duty!”), hyping how great the World Expo was for French business (either his penance for threatening to boycott the 2008 Olympics or just recalling glorious visits with Carla), or reminding everyone that we cannot understand today’s world by ignoring China:

More Sarko in Beijing footage here.

French cultural diplomacy in China is really exceptionally rich.  This diplomacy includes singers and pianists touring East Asia giving master classes on diction in the French chanson to eager groups of students.  No wonder Bizet’s Carmen is doing well in China’s best theater this week.  The French Embassy has also taken up the sponsorship of major art photography conferences in Beijing which includes the following photo, linked via the Le Monde China blog, which itself remains as affecting as ever:

This very interesting short video report dates from the days of late February, 2011, with footage of the “Jasmine demonstration” in Beijing and a state-security aborted interview with one of Zhao Ziyang’s old reformist comrades from 1989.

The same group of French journalists covers expropriations and urbanization in Shanghai.

In feel-good news, a French-owned company, Road39, seems to be doing quite well in a niche market in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong: designing svelte clothes for pregnant women.

As a penultimate item, there is this video analysis from what feels like eons ago, describing how Chinese media was covering the revolution in (really the democratic wave [“la vague democratique”] washing over) Egypt:

Finally, although Libération is a relatively small paper in Paris, they manage to have a brave correspondent in China named Philippe Grangereau, who has also penned a rather interesting book about North Korea entitled In the Country of the Big Lie.  This month Grangereau provides some first-hand reporting and a photo from the troubled Tibetan areas of western Sichuan, which is where, having digested the complete historical works of Melvyn Goldstein, I will be spending — God and the Chinese visa office willing — about a week this coming August getting my hands and feet dirty, and perhaps even testing the acoustical properties of the mountains when faced with cello licks intermingled with yodeled fragments of translations of Also Sprach Zarathustra.  


  1. OMG! just pass by have a glance…then I saw my ancient boss on the first video…quite suprised and wondering why he is there ? i think his company is not the biggist in Beijing ? very happy to see him there ahha… the office didn’t change a lot since i left.

    1. Thank you for the comment! And very sorry not to respond to your comment earlier — or in perfect French, for that matter. A la prochaine fois, n’est pas?

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