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Xi's visit to France heralds a new chapter



Chinese President Xi Jinping is paying a state visit to France to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the two countries and to further deepen bilateral trade ties as well as cultural interaction. How will both countries reap the dividends going forward? What's behind the mutual appreciation and respect among ordinary people in China and France? In this edition of The Hub, Wang Guan travels in Paris and talks to Zhang Weiwei, director of the China Institute at Fudan University; to Zhang Zhiqiang, director of the Institute of Philosophy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences: to Deanna Gao, president and founder of the Franco-Chinese Cultural Association; and to Nicolas Idier, inspector-general of Chinese language education in France, to discuss the roots of this much lauded "prototypical relationship" between China and a Western country. Zhang Weiwei tells Wang Guan that French President Emmanuel Macron's call for European strategic autonomy is a reflection of France's traditional independent foreign policy. Zhang Zhiqiang and Deanna Gao both underscore the multifaceted cultural commonalities between the two countries. And with some 40,000 French students learning Mandarin, Nicolas Idier remarks that if politics can sometimes get in the way, the China-France friendship dates back centuries and remains deeply rooted.

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