and Paris reacts

April 21st, 2008

So Sarkozy deems it necessary to send two envoys to mend fences and patch up France’s relations with China.

Opération rapprochement. Nicolas Sarkozy tente par tous les moyens de renouer avec Pékin alors que plusieurs manifestations anti-occidentales ont eu lieu ces derniers jours, en France et en Chine. Dans la semaine, ce sont deux émissaires, le conseiller diplomatique Jean-David Levitte et l’ancien Premier ministre Jean-Pierre Raffarin, qui vont être envoyés par l’Elysée afin de mettre fin – ou du moins essayer – au coup de froid actuel entre les deux pays.

Operation Rapprochement. Nicolas Sarkozy is trying every means to restore ties with Beijing as several anti-western demonstrations have taken place in France and China in recent days. This week it will be two emissaries, diplomatic counsellor Jean-David Levitte and ex-Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who will be sent by the Elysée [the president, from the name of the presidential palace] to put an end to- or at least try- to the current cold snap between the two countries.

Ahem. My understanding was that the recent protests were against France and certain elements of the Western media, not against the West as a whole (whatever that may be).

Anyway, Raffarin leaves Wednesday and will meet Wen Jiabao, and Levitte will be here on the weekend, but it doesn’t say who he’ll meet. It does say that the two will be carrying messages from Sarkozy, but:

Quel sera le contenu de ces messages? Rien n’a filtré pour le moment.

What will the content of these messages be? Nothing has leaked out for the moment.


Mais s’il est de la même veine que celui délivré ce lundi, il devrait être très conciliant. Au premier jour d’une visite d’une semaine, c’est un autre cadre UMP, le président du Sénat Christian Poncelet, qui a remis à Shangai une lettre en main propre à Jin Jing. Cette jeune femme de 27 ans, handicapée, avait protégé sur son fauteuil roulant la torche olympique face à plusieurs militants pro-t1bét@ins qui tentaient de la lui dérober lors du parcours à Paris. Depuis, elle a été érigée en héroïne par les médias chinois.

But if it’s in the same vein as that delivered Sunday, it must be very conciliatory. On the first day of a one-week visit, it was another UMP official, president of the Senate Christian Poncelet, who hand-delivered a letter to Jin Jing in Shanghai. This 27-year old disabled young woman protected the Olympic torch on her wheelchair from several pro-T1b3t@n activists who were trying to steal it from her during its passage through Paris. She was then made a national heroine by the Chinese media.

«Je veux vous dire que j’ai été choqué par les attaques dont vous avez été l’objet le 7 avril à Paris et, pour le courage que vous avez montré, j’ai un profond respect envers vous et le peuple dont vous venez. […] Il est compréhensible que le peuple chinois ait été blessé et je condamne fermement» ces actions, a écrit le président français.

“I want to tell you I was shocked by the attacks you were subjected to on April 7 in Paris, and, because of the courage that you showed, I have a profound respect for you and the people from which you come. […]  It is understandable that the Chinese people were hurt and I strongly condemn” these actions, the French president wrote.

Hmmm… The pictures I saw only showed one attacker.

Well, I’d be surprised if any of the pro-China or anti-France protests, here or in France, actually had much to do with Sarkozy’s decision to send envoys to patch up relations with China, but at least China’s voice is being heard and getting a reasonable response. In some quarters, at least.

3 Responses to “and Paris reacts”

  1. Matthew Stinson Says:

    Well, there were multiple T1betan activists running up to her in photos, and one or two were tackled or stopped before they got close.

    If Beijing is serious about closing down the protests, they will milk this for all its worth and let the 愤青 beat their breasts in victory then return to the previous Olympic conceits.

  2. wangbo Says:

    I didn’t notice those in the background, I guess they only registered as visual noise- which, I guess, is all they were, really.

    And the signals to calm down are already being sent out, so I suspect you’re right about that.

  3. Matthew Stinson Says:

    Further evidence our predictions are playing out correctly:

    It’ll be interesting to see how many netizens start making references to Li Hongzhang tonight and tomorrow.