On his first official visit to China, French President Nicolas Sarkozy must have been dizzy, witnessing the signing of contracts worth 20 billion euros in total, comprising of 160 Airbus aircrafts, two EPR nuclear reactors (to be built in Taishan, Guangdong, by 2014) and signal equipment for Shanghai’s future 36-kilometer metro line #10, a long-awaited deal between Alstom and Shanghai Metro that will link New Jiangwan Town to Hongqiao Airport.
In an interview with Xinhua, the President deftly used nice friendly terms such as “harmony,” “economic advances,” and “world security.” However, his declarations that “Tibet belongs to China” and that “Taiwan does not need a referendum to decide of its future” lend a strange taste to his trip when we learn that a month ago, two Chinese lawyers, Mo Shaoping and Li Jinsong, were two of the five recipients of the French Prize for Human Rights (this year’s themes were “freedom of opinion, freedom of expression and freedom of information”)…
On a lighter note, we hear that Yang Erche Namu, a famous Chinese female writer and singer, made a marriage proposal to recently-divorced President Sarkozy, claiming that he ‘must be a good kisser’ and that he needs new things in his life, the same way Paris should be ‘renewed’ because it is one of those ‘old things’ France is stuck with. So much for the Eiffel tower and the Butte Montmartre. Watch her make her declaration of love here.
Sarkozy wrapped up his tour of China by dining at the Sens & Bund (voila) and strolling down the Bund under a suspiciously nice weather (see picture here) and amidst a crowd of admirers.
Last but not least, what French expatriates see, when their President is abroad, is the cost of his private personal security staff, and of the 52 deputies and French company CEOs, all flown in with taxpayers’ money to private airports all around the world (not counting family members such as the President’s mother, which is the subject of many an indecent joke). We think Chinese people miss the grandeur and allure of former President Jacques Chirac who, with his big nose and low-pitched voice, talked about Chinese antiques and did not stand next to Terra Cotta Warriors – something the current President did, reminding us all once more of how small he is (another popular joke among leftists).