Jean-Pierre Raffarin | The Role of Sino-French Relations on Global Governance: Insights from Personal Experiences

On February 27, 2024, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, former Prime Minister of the French Republic and Shuhsi Hsü Chair Professor, visited Yenching Academy at the invitation of Dean Dong Qiang. He delivered a lecture titled “The Role of Sino-French Relations on Global Governance: Insights from Personal Experience.” Yenching Academy Dean Dong Qiang hosted the event. Former Chinese Ambassador to France, Zhao Jinjun, was also present as a discussant to provide commentary on the lecture from the Chinese perspective. Guests including Yenching Academy Honorary Dean Yuan Ming, Yenching Academy Li De Chair Professor Zhang Longxi, Peking University Institute for Global Health and Development Dean Gordon Liu, Peking University Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences Associate Director Duan Demin, Peking University Education Foundation (USA) President Zhao Lin,  China-EU Association Vice President and Secretary-General Song Jingwu, China-EU Association Deputy Secretary-General Xiao Lianbing, Yishu 8 Association Secretary-General Hu Xin, Peking University Institute of Molecular Medicine Researcher Lei Ming, Yenching Academy Associate Dean Brent Haas, as well as students from Yenching Academy, Department of French Language and Literature, and other faculties, were present in the event.

Dean Dong commenced the lecture by highlighting the importance of the year 2024 in Sino-French relations, marking the sixtieth anniversary of diplomatic relationship between the two countries. 2024 is also the Sino-French Cultural Tourism Year, symbolizing an important step in facilitating political, economic, and cultural exchanges between China and France.

Mr. Raffarin began his talk by expressing gratitude for the invitation. Addressing the current geopolitical landscape, He underscored the instability highlighted by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, emphasizing the unsustainable nature of European efforts to stop massive military conflicts and maintain peace since 1945. He stressed the shared responsibility of China and France in promoting global peace. French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to China in 2023 included an extensive 14-hour discussion between him and Chinese President Xi Jinping, which Mr. Raffarin considered to be a foundation for mutual trust and improvement in bilateral relations in the years to come.

Mr. Raffarin outlined five key domains crucial for fostering a constructive environment for global governance. Firstly, he advocated for the identification of shared values between China and France in planetary governance, including the promotion of peace, diversity, and respect for different civilizations. Secondly, he called for the establishment of a dialogue platform that rejects discrimination. Thirdly, both China and France should develop new multilateralism in global diplomacy to address 21st-century problems, including promoting global security and regulating artificial intelligence. Fourthly, he noted the importance of Sino-French cooperation on Africa’s development through multilateral discussions. Finally, he stressed Europe’s importance in global politics – the third pole role – in promoting global peace.

Dean Dong appreciated Mr. Raffarin’s insights. Citing the renowned novelist and his doctoral advisor Milan Kundera, Dean Dong underlined the importance of recognizing “Europe” in a comprehensive manner. Former Ambassador Zhao Jinjun lauded Mr. Raffarin’s towering contributions to improving China-France relations, noting his unique distinction as the only foreigner to be awarded the Friendship Award by Chinese President Xi Jinping on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in September 2019. Ambassador Zhao highlighted Mr. Raffarin’s ongoing dedication to Sino-French cooperation despite no longer holding any position in the government.

The lecture was followed by an interaction between Mr. Raffarin and students and faculty members of Peking University in a friendly atmosphere.

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