In a speech made in Paris during a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of full diplomatic ties between China and France, Xi Jinping made a reference to Napoleon Bonaparte’s remark that China was a sleeping lion two centuries ago.
“Today, the lion has woken up. But it is peaceful, pleasant and civilised,” however, Xi also stresses that the “lion” would bring opportunities, peace and progress for the world, not shake it, in contrary to the French ruler’s observation: “Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will shake the world.”
Aside from the sleeping lion bit, Xi also expressed admiration of the host country’s rich culture and tradition, saying that he “was really interested in French culture, history, philosophy and art. By reading the works of La Fontaine, Balzac, Hugo and Maupassant, I gained a better understanding of the human condition” and that “characters like Jean Valjean (Les Miserables) and Quasimodo (The Hunchback of Notre-Dame)… are solidly anchored in my memory.”
South China Morning Post: Xi says world has nothing to fear from awakening ‘peaceful lion’