Chirac reflects on 'great culture'

Updated: 2010-11-16 07:55

By Ai Yang (China Daily)

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BEIJING - China and France can enjoy "a special relationship" based on the fact that they both enjoy the legacy of "an old civilization and great culture", said former French president Jacques Chirac.

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Over the weekend Chirac traveled to Shanghai and Hong Kong for the release of the Chinese version of the first volume of his memoirs, and will leave on Tuesday after his six days in China.

"To develop those special relations (between China and France), you must develop a thorough knowledge or at least a great interest in the culture of the other country," Chirac wrote in an exclusive written interview.

The former president's trip to China was reportedly kept "low profile", as he expressed wishes not to politically influence or comment on any current affairs.

His memoir, Each Step Must Itself Be a Goal, first came onto the bookshelves around this time last year.

The 77-year-old said one of his proudest moments he shared with readers was meeting with the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping.

"I was particularly impressed after my meeting with Deng Xiaoping. We traveled together to the south of France, to Provence, where he proved a very warm and hearty person. He accomplished a fantastic work in opening China to the world."

Chirac also told China Daily in the future he might write about "how I came to appreciate Chinese history and civilization - especially after I first visited China and the archaeological sites of Xi'an". As the president of France Chirac first visited China in 1997, but before that he had twice traveled to the country in 1978 and 1991.

"I feel a special attraction to Asian culture, for all its subtlety and intelligence. It is very different from our Cartesian, French mindset. Asian culture draws its origin mainly from great Chinese philosophers, five centuries BC. That's what triggered my passion for Chinese culture," Chirac said.

The former president met President Hu Jintao in Paris earlier this month, when Hu paid a state visit to France, and inked deals, which, according to the French government, are "by far the most important ever, either during visits by Chinese leaders to Europe or European leaders to China".

Chirac's 12 years as president up to 2007 is said to be the focus of the second volume, which will also detail his relationship with current French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

China Daily


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