'A mind broader than the sky': Xi and French culture

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-05-05 18:01
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Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron listen to the Qin melody "High Mountains and Flowing Water" at Baiyun Hall of the Pine Garden in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province, April 7, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING - Every time Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers New Year address, his office bookshelves inside the Zhongnanhai compound have always been studied by curious bookworms across the country and the world.

As the camera pans, careful viewers can find that in Xi's book collections are some quintessential French masterpieces, including The Spirit of Laws, Les Miserables, The Red and The Black, and The Human Comedy. "I developed a keen interest in French culture and particularly French history, philosophy, literature and art when I was a young man," Xi once recalled.

Xi has been an avid reader. His extensive reading has helped shape his global perspective. After taking over the helm of China, he has made cultural interaction a trademark of his diplomacy, which empowers a better understanding between China and the wider world.

As China and France celebrate 60 years of diplomatic ties this year, the Chinese president is set to pay his third state visit to the European country. All eyes are on him to see how this enthusiast of French culture will bring the two great civilizations of the East and West even closer.

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