Joachim has been traveling around the world. He left Paris on his 25th birthday, came back one year later in 2010. And you're here on his travel blog.
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360 in 365 – Joachim voyage autour du monde

360 in 365 – Joachim voyage autour du monde

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Good-bye China.

I left China two days ago, and arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam, yesterday night. After about 45 days it’s a bit strange.

When I first came there after Mongolia, I tried to forget the clichés “China is big, lots of people, they don’t speak french and they’ll eat us all”. This kind of talk isn’t really constructive. So yeah, I didn’t really know what to expect. A dictatorship that forgets free of speech (and facebook), an economical phenomenon that’s going up and up and 5000 years of history, and also landscapes with mountains and pines and bamboos in the foreground. This, I expected.

But I didn’t expect to be so nicely surprised by China. Landscapes, people, life… Even facing poverty, destruction (I passed through the 2008’s earthquake region) or corruption, there’s a hige dynamic feeling to be felt from the Chinese people.

Even tourists were interesting and motivated!

Here in France (or Back there in France), we’ve got all sorts of rethorics concerning the rest of the world. And then, you get to move around, and you see that reality has multiple faces. Some things I saw, some people I discussed with enabled me to have other views and think differently than in France. Reality has many faces. What I say is not an absolute truth, but some thought work in progress. Nothing’s all black or white, and if in France there’s millions of intelligent people, they have hundreds of millions of them in China.

A couple I met in Dali told me that some friends of them asked why they didn’t boycott China, and why they were going there on vacation. Why would you do that? I mean, Boycott China? That’s 1.5 billion people and the economy that grows with them. A couple not travelling there will surely influence the government, riiiight. And living in Paris or any western country without buying “Made in China” is completely illusory. All of our way of life in the Western World is based on cheap labour in poor countries. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, far from it, but it’s illusory to think that a few Prius-owning rightly thinking bohemian bourgeois can turn the Chinese governement’s policies when they decide to go to Bali instead of China this spring.

And yeah, Mao’s times are over, and we tend to forget it. Deng came and gave back to the people the possibility to survive and to do business. And now with Hu, you can forget about the communist economy : everybody’s got something to sell, and it’s the biggest capitalist market in the world. That’s why you get to see McDonald’s and KFC at every street corner in big cities.

And we also forget, in France, that China is not North Korea. And that the Chinese people aren’t idiots. One of their jokes was actually mocking one of the Party’s motto : “Mao is the sun who shines upon the Chinese people”, and adding “but Deng is the moon who gives us light to play Mah-Jong”. Mao was an idealist, but Deng was more important for them, thanks to him they could do business (for the Chinese : Mah-Jong = gambling = business = luck = … = proffit!). Chinese people I met are patriots, they love the country and didn’t get brainwashed, or at least not at a point that robbed them from their critical thinking.

In fact, the biggest recrimination of people of my age was against the Chinese educative system, that didn’t give them the tools to think in constructive ways, and so on. We could say, from a Westerner’s point of view, that it’s the main point and that it’s Evil and Communist, and their system blocks all original thoughts. But in that case, how would they be able to notice these problems? Their system might be considered as brainwashing, but it’s not performing well, so yeah, that’s not so bad, is it?

And Chinese people my age (yes of course, I had discussions with all of them) are shocked when western countries tell the Chinese government how it should behave for any kind of situation. We can understand them : if Lichtenstein gave France lessons about how to handle the Corsican and Basque cases, what would we say? It doesn’t mean I’m okay with the way China handles Tibet or Xinjiang. But the situation is better than a few years ago, and it’ll be better over time, I guess. Changes take time.

And anyway, who I am to “Be okay” with other people’s affairs? Who sleeps with whop, how people are lead… I’m against inequality and suffering. Except from that, well, my convictions like pissing myself in black pants : a warm and cosy feeling for me, but it doens’t concern other people unless they don’t like the smell.

Oh well. Measure in everything. You need some mesure in governments, but also in the way we criticize them. The goal of a government isn’t the freedom, or the happiness or the survival of the people. The goal of a government is to keep the power to itself. And all the means are good to that goal : give the people illusions of freedom (you can buy what you want as long as you buy) or happiness (remember you’re happy whey you buy), or give the people something to eat. And governments tell their people that they are actually the best way of governing. And that everyone that’s advocating another system is dead wrong. And sometimes they make sure these people turn up dead. So yeah, democracy? the best way to govern! Dictatorship? the best there is also! (give the people the benefit of the doubt and allow self-government? well, mmh, NO)

Ok so yeah. China’s nice, beautiful, we eat well and no need to boycott. Because anyway in a few years when they turn Europe into a giant tourist park, we’ll be able to think it wouldn’t have changed anything.

Good-bye China, we’ll meet again. I lived great and incredible things with you.


  1. Super compte-rendu. Rien à ajouter, je cautionne tes propos. C’est beau.

    Comment by Romain — Nov 22nd, 2009 @ 03:37 PM
  2. Bravo !

    On sent que tu as une ouverture d’esprit très grande, mais le contraire m’aurait étonné vu le voyage que tu as entrepris.

    J’avoue que j’aime bien titiller les Chinois que je connais sur les sujets sensibles, comme Taiwan par exemple. Mais la vérité, c’est que les temps changent, que les Chinois viennent de plus en plus nombreux visiter Taiwan, et que des deux côtés du détroit les mentalités changent… doucement (la plupart des Taiwanais, même ceux qui commercent avec les Chinois, ne peuvent pas les piffrer) !

    On verra comment tout ça évolue !

    Maintenant, éclate-toi bien au Vietnam !

    Comment by Pierre — Nov 22nd, 2009 @ 05:32 PM
  3. 你好,

    Étant actuellement en Chine pour 6 mois, je trouve ton analyse très juste et c’est aussi mon point de vue.

    Il est vrai que regarder les informations nationale ne sert pas à grand chose car ce pourrait être les mêmes depuis 10 ans sans problèmes.

    Par contre dans la vie de tous les jours, la sécurité est là, les gens travaillent et toutes les idées de projets sont bonnes pour gagner de l’argent.

    Seul truc vraiment dommage, le grand public ne sait même pas qu’un ordinateur sans Windows existe.

    Pour ce qui est du niveau de la monnaie est comparable à celui francs en 1996.

    Par contre la précarité se fait sentir, des progrès sont à faire dans l’hygiène générale, les sanitaires ainsi que l’isolation des maisons.

    Bref vivre en Chine c’est intéressant, agréable et ça ouvre l’esprit.

    Fait nous la même analyse sur le Vietnam :) 哈哈



    Comment by Natim — Nov 22nd, 2009 @ 06:17 PM
  4. Note pour plus tard : éviter en société la théorie du pantalon noir. Ca fait mauvais genre… ;-)


    Comment by Jr (ex-French in London) — Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 11:57 AM
  5. “Voyage, écoutes, observe et tu ouvrira ton esprit à coup de hache” bien que voyageant en Australie depuis 14 mois je me suis aussi rendu compte de ces facettes de vérité par le biais de tous les voyageurs et locaux que j’ai pu rencontrer.

    Et pour ce qui est de “l’exploitation” des pays en développement je suis aussi de l’avis que c’est un mal pour un bien. Taïwan -bien que faisant partie de la Chine est un peu à part- s’est énormément développé et peu concurrencer en qualité grâce à ça, il en sera de même pour n’importe que autre pays car les “exploiteurs” injectent de l’argent dans ces pays, et cet argent est le coup de pouce dont ces pays ont besoin pour s’élever eux aussi.

    Pensée personnelle très intéressante. Au plaisir de lire les prochains billets.

    Comment by Naga_ — Nov 26th, 2009 @ 06:47 AM
  6. Ton post m’a presque mis la larme à l’œil tellement je suis d’accord avec la majorité de ce que tu as écris. J’ai l’impression que tu connais mieux la Chine en 45 jours que moi en bientôt 3 ans. :)

    Donne signe de vie la prochaine fois que tu passes dans le coin, qu’on puisse se croiser, à Shanghai ou ailleurs, si l’occasion se présente.

    Bons vents…

    Comment by — Nov 26th, 2009 @ 11:50 AM
  7. salut, je pars en avril à Pékin pour 6 mois dans le but de faire un stage en entreprise, j’ai envie de faire un tour de l’Asie quelques mois après mon stage! ton témoignage m’aide bcp à me préparer à ce qui m’attends, j’ai hâte d’y être! jf de 25ans étudiante à paris mais toulousaine de coeur :)
    bonne continuation et merci de transmettre aussi bien ce que tu expérimentes, c’est un plaisir de te lire! bonne continuation…

    Comment by aziza — Dec 10th, 2009 @ 05:26 PM
  8. Bonjour jeune voyageur

    et bravo pour cette belle ouverture d’esprit. Votre approche du monde est le signe d’une nature vivante. Une nature qui tranche singulièrement avec la sinistre nature morte de nombre de nos compatriotes.

    Comme vous l’avez perçu, beaucoup de Français sont persuadés d’incarner la perfection achevée. Ils plaquent des schémas stéréotypés sur le monde entier et adorent vouer aux gémonies tout ceux qui n’ont pas l’intelligence de penser comme eux.

    Ils n’arrivent pas à concevoir que chaque peuple travaille son avenir selon ses dynamiques propres, avec ses propres outils, à partir de sa propre histoire.

    Continuez de vivre l’esprit libre.

    Comment by Jacques Cosquer — Jan 15th, 2010 @ 10:48 PM

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