US-China: Le Grand Refroidissement

Precisely one year ago, Le Monde asked in an uncharacteristically blaring headline: “US-Chine: Le Grande Refroidissement? [US-China: The Great Re-Freeze?]” Well, today that article appears to be rather prescient. From Taiwan to Google to the Dalai Lama to pending and present trade disputes, there is more than enough acrimony to go around. Perhaps this means that French journalism and commentary about East Asia generally, and … Continue reading US-China: Le Grand Refroidissement

French Press: East Asia Tropes

Le Monde Diplomatique (法国世界外交论衡月刊)is one of the more thoughtful periodicals from the French perspective on foreign affairs, available (partially) here in English (中文版打这儿).   The compendium of foreign affairs essays has a good track record of covering the North Korean perspective from various perspectives, to wit:  This essay by Chinese scholar Shen Dingli (of Fudan University in Shanghai, much hated on by rollback blogs like Joshua Stanton’s) argues that North Korea, even … Continue reading French Press: East Asia Tropes

Cultural Destruction in Kashgar [II]

This summer I translated “Cultural Demolition in Kashgar,” a French story from the dynamic Paris left-wing newspaper Liberation which attracted a wide number of readers via Danwei.org and ended up on the reading list of a number of overseas Uighur organizations. Today Le Monde‘s China blog releases a large cache of similar photos which, for readers following Xinjiang and China’s West, may be of great … Continue reading Cultural Destruction in Kashgar [II]

Le Monde Reports on Laura Ling and Euna Lee

Le Monde conducts its own investigation of Euna Lee and Laura Ling’s cross-border excursion, arrest by North Korean troops, and the consequent chaotic aftermath among South Korean aid organizations working in Northeast China.  The article, by experienced Asia correspondent Philippe Pons, isn’t laden with bombshells, but it remains nevertheless potentially an important part of the record. Philippe Pons, “Enquête: Deux héroïnes très contestées [Investigation: two … Continue reading Le Monde Reports on Laura Ling and Euna Lee

French Dispatches from Tokyo: Philippe Pons on North Korean Provocations

Why Read the European Press re: East Asia? A Justification I operate on assumptions that more sources, even flawed ones, are better than fewer.  (I also believe, unlike the classic example of Dick Cheney in 2002-03, that as we sift through these sources, it is important to let a thesis develop out of them rather than imposing one from above.)  Grabbing a wider net can … Continue reading French Dispatches from Tokyo: Philippe Pons on North Korean Provocations

Report from Vladivostok

Although the article title is unnecessarily frivolous, Le Monde carries a magnificent dispatch on North Korean activities from the Russian Far Eastern port of Vladivostok: Marie Jégo, “Lettre de Russie: Kim Jong Il, son aura, son goût du kaki [Letter from Russia: Kim Jong Il, His Aura, His Taste in Khaki],” Le Monde, June 5, 2009, (p. 28). (Summary, not direct translation, follows.  Full French … Continue reading Report from Vladivostok