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Chinese press hail Xi’s ‘grand’ welcome in France

Photo: AFP

The Chinese press have praised the sumptuous receptions and underscored the important commercial agreements that marked President Xi Jinping’s opulent state visit to France.

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French officials rolled out the red carpet for Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife during the couple’s two-day visit marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Paris and Beijing, Chinese newspapers highlighted in their coverage of the event.

Xi was welcomed with a “grand” reception in the eastern city of Lyon on Wednesday, which French diplomats spent months preparing, the Beijing News reported.

The Shanghai Morning Post stated that French officials had “pulled out all the stops” to impress the Chinese leader, offering him banquets prepared by France’s premiere chefs and a private visit to the Chateaux of Versailles near Paris.

“The Chinese press insisted that the president was received with the highest honours in France,” Jean-Baptiste Fallevoz, FRANCE 24’s correspondent in Beijing, said via telephone.

The Chinese media also highlighted the 18 billion euros of business agreements signed between France and China during the state visit.

The Xinhua news agency chose to focus on Xi’s call for the two countries to “boost economic cooperation, so as to further consolidate the economic foundation of bilateral relations.”

"France needs China”

While Chinese newspapers widely reported that “both sides were winners” of the commercial agreements, FRANCE 24’s Fallevoz said there was a predominant view in China that their president was in France to help rescue the country’s ailing finances.

“The press here conveys the idea that Xi is in France to help it re-launch its economy and balance its debt,” Fallevoz noted. “The feeling is that France needs China much more than China needs France.”

He said that French culture was highly regarded in China, but that Chinese commentators were sceptical that France was a good place to do business.

“In general, Chinese people love clichés. For them the Frenchman is romantic and cultivated, but also kind of lazy. For business opportunities, they look at Germany,” he said.

Xi Jinping left France early on Friday morning to visit Germany, the third leg of his 10-day tour in Europe.

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