Moranbong: Following French Intellectuals to North Korea in 1958

As I’ve completed a long article on the subject of Sino-French relations in the mid-1950s with a focus on the 1955 journey of Simone de Beauvoir to the People’s Republic of China, the following press release, sent by Benjamin Joinau, interests me quite a bit:  Re: Antoine Coppola’s “Cine-voyage en Coree du Nord” L’Atelier des Cahiers [link] introduces its latest publication about the fascinating trip of French … Continue reading Moranbong: Following French Intellectuals to North Korea in 1958

Consecrated: New French Embassy in Beijing

The next time you encounter someone caterwauling about the rapid expansion of Chinese cultural institutions abroad, Chinese companies taking over contracts in Algeria, or complaining about the size of the American embassy in Baghdad, I suggest you counter with the following statement: “Sure, but have you seen the French Embassy in Beijing?  Don’t you think the Chinese are terrified by the cultural footprint that it … Continue reading Consecrated: New French Embassy in Beijing

The Dalai Lama in Toulouse: On Soft Power, Le Pen, and Unfallen Shoes

Back in July, while on a late-night stroll through the 5th Arrdondisment looking for Rue Oberkampf, I chanced upon an announcement of the Dalai Lama’s mid-August trip to Toulouse, France, a city which appears to have become a kind of new Buddhist heartland. To follow up: The Dalai Lama indeed went to Toulouse, and a short clip from a French television station captures very well … Continue reading The Dalai Lama in Toulouse: On Soft Power, Le Pen, and Unfallen Shoes

Three Miniatures on Sino-French Parallels, Relations

Rooting around in the proverbial cellar of this castle in the sky/blog, I came across three essays involving, more or less, Jean-Paul Sartre and his reception in the PRC. https://adamcathcart.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/sartre-cultures-of-defeat/  https://adamcathcart.wordpress.com/2009/05/18/sartre-cultures-of-defeat-ii/ https://adamcathcart.wordpress.com/2009/06/27/thoughts-on-sino-french-relations-from-“the-time-of-distrust”-to-today/ Is there any quarter in China’s vast intellectual canvas where Sartre’s philosophy evinces a depression, that is to say, an impact?  Perhaps even a dominant impact?  As opposed to Sartre himself being taken … Continue reading Three Miniatures on Sino-French Parallels, Relations

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 … Continue reading Catching Up on French Reports from China

Sino-French Soliloquies

Word counts don’t mean so much at the end of the day, the release of a big article manuscript into the hands of a capable editor should always be grounds for a minor celebration.   It also seems clear that in writing as in life it is good to have a little bit too much of everything — of friendship, of commitments, of food, of music, … Continue reading Sino-French Soliloquies

A Moveable Feast of Sino-French Links

Particularly as we lay siege to a new year, one in which I hope this blog can increasingly function as a kind of open workshop, a mediation on hope may in fact be appropriate.  In a chapter entitled “Printed Paper” in his immense and overflowing prolix canvas, The French Revolution, author Thomas Carlyle writes: Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.  And yet, as we said, … Continue reading A Moveable Feast of Sino-French Links

Crashing the “Chinese Wave”? Interview with Hanban Head

The following story was originally published in a Singapore paper, but it’s still nice to read it in the Huanqiu Shibao/Global Times, as it plays to the best sense of that publication’s kind of cultivated apprehension to what outsiders think of China and the impact of China’s global “soft power.”  Call the paper’s sometime approach “nuanced paranoia,” if you will, or just be amused at how, after all … Continue reading Crashing the “Chinese Wave”? Interview with Hanban Head

Little Tremors in Sino-French Relations: Violence in 19th Arrondissement

[Update: Liberation has the most comprehensive overview so far available (in French, bien sûr).] Like me, you might have thought that you could just forget for a while about Sino-French relations.  After all, hadn’t lovely first lady Carli Bruni silenced all the domestic critics and seduced the entire nation of China with her sashaying ways in Shanghai, her thoughtful entwinement with the little President under … Continue reading Little Tremors in Sino-French Relations: Violence in 19th Arrondissement

Study in Contrasts: US and France Regard the Shanghai Expo

I spent part of this weekend watching American diplomats on C-SPAN describing how great everything is going at the American pavilion at the Shanghai Expo.   Hillary Clinton, having tactfully boxed President Karzai into a corner in his recent visit to Washington, is finally focusing again on East Asia. Conducting foreign wars with the help of corrupt allies, it seems, has a way of usurping … Continue reading Study in Contrasts: US and France Regard the Shanghai Expo