The crisis in French-Chinese relations. From disruption to reason

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Both countries have long exercised a mutual fascination for one another, in old days and modern times, owing a lot to General de Gaulle’s acknowledgement of Mao’s government in 1964. This fascination reached its apex with the progressive establishment of a « global strategic partnership » even if the latter did have its boundaries and its stalemates. This partnership rests on multipolarity, cultural plurality, the UN’s role, national independence. Yet, economic relations have turned increasingly asymmetrical for the benefit of China, and partners’ expectations present a widening rift. China’s treatment of Tibet, the environment, the conditions of China’s support of Africa, France’s return in NATO : all these issues have illustrated that the adjective « strategic » has lost its meaning. To the eyes of Chinese leaders, the relationship’s future lies in a more sustained attention towards Chinese attitudes, that is to say accepting their conditions.