My title today comes from a romantic, fin-de-siecle French account of the Boxer Rebellion, when the walled city of Beijing seemed to be Ground Zero for Armageddon. But my double entendre is really meant to suggest Obama’s last day in the city.
If Obama is really such a socialist, why didn’t he insist on visiting Chairman Mao’s tomb? Maybe because he’s too busy trying to make deals for Boeing and Microsoft, or explaining why the Dalai Lama can’t be likened to Jefferson Davis.
In considering Chinese views of the West, this French photo gallery of libertines on the Beijing club circuit (“Le ball des salopes“!) going all out for Halloween is something to consider. While this sort of thing makes a certain segment of the Beijing expat community giddy, if one is going to shell out forty yuan for a bottle of tea, I’d much rather spend an evening listening to French accordion music up near Jiugulou.
And although everyone seems to have forgotten that not long ago Al Qaeda in Algeria was threatening the PRC with murder of its citizens in Algeria, there are still tens of thousands of Chinese in Algieria, where life has gotten a little more difficult since China joined the War on Terror. As the French press reports (sorry but the NYT is too broke to report on this one!), integration is difficult for the Chinese there.
But in the meantime, maybe China is complaining not just about trade practices, but the Uighurs sprung from Gitmo who are now living on Palau.
Perhaps this accounts for the “cold ambiance between Hu Jintao and Barack Obama” which the sharp-eyed Arnaud de la Grange reports on in today’s Le Figaro. If you’re feeling lazy and imprecise, Google translates the article here.