French Policy towards China: a Redefinition

  • François Godement
  • Régine Serra


The realist theory of international relations never had much of a chance when it comes to characterizing the Sino-French relationship through time. To a certain extent, France has always had an intellectual, and even sentimental relationship with a country of which it formed an Utopian image very early on, while it also liked to stress similarities with the French monarchy, its old bureaucratic system, and the earthly culture of agrarian France. Relations essentially began in the middle of the thirteenth century, when King Louis XIII and the Pope tried to convince the Mongol Empire to join them and fight against the Ottoman Empire in Asia Minor. After sending an emissary, France received the confirmation of the existence of the Silk Road and of China. Thereafter, about 100 French missionaries went to China, but only four or five centuries later, and with the Jesuit saga began the rediscovery of China and its popularity as a philosophical object. It was also at that time that France introduced a certain Western knowledge and technologies in fields such as astronomy, geography, mathematics, calendar, and firearms, and that the French intellectual class was initiated to the Chinese culture.


Foreign Direct Investment World Trade Organisation Foreign Affair Chinese Market French Government 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • François Godement
  • Régine Serra

There are no affiliations available

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