Sunday, January 25, 2004

With Fanfare and a Grand Parade, Paris Celebrates France's Ties to China

New York Times

Only France wouldn't be ashamed to color the Eiffel Tower bright red for the event. But they do share a common love of stifling differences for the sake of order and conformity. So why not celebrate it! Going to have to stifle a little more dissent to pull it off though:

"As part of the country's 'Year of China' promotion, officials closed Paris' grand avenue, the Champs-Élysées, on Saturday afternoon for a huge parade dominated by a dancing dragon — the first time the avenue has been taken over by an intrinsically non-French event since German troops marched down it during World War II.

The parade, sponsored in part by China, included hundreds of Chinese citizens and thousands of Chinese émigrés living in and around Paris. The only things missing, though, were firecrackers, banned for security reasons, and adherents of Falun Gong, the spiritual movement that the Chinese government has banned. The group's request to join the festivities was denied."

Do you think the irony of the closing of the Champs-Élysées is lost on them? Oui.

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