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‘Young and energetic’ Macron wins Chinese fans

#Young #energetic #Macron #wins #Chinese #fans

French President Emmanuel Macron met a warm welcome from the Chinese public on his state visit this week, a sharp contrast to the ongoing anger and protests against pension reforms back home.

Macron’s three-day trip is intended to strengthen economic ties and press Beijing on the Ukraine crisis — but many in China were charmed by the 45-year-old head of state, praising his looks and relaxed demeanour.

A screaming crowd of students and fans greeted Macron in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou on Friday, while social media bubbled over with posts about his appearance.

“He’s very approachable, and he doesn’t have the airs of other presidents,” Yue Liang, a 34-year-old Beijing resident, told AFP.

“Macron is a very young and energetic president, and he has also made great efforts in various reforms.”

“I love his voice,” Liu Xin, a 43-year-old student of French at Beijing’s Alliance Francaise, told AFP.

“He is a man with a lot of charm.”

Multiple hashtags related to Macron’s visit made the top 10 most searched items on the popular Weibo social  media platform on Friday.

Many Weibo commenters said they were envious of students at Guangzhou’s Sun Yat-Sen University, who took part in a question-and-answer session with the French president.

Macron and his entourage squeezed through a crowd of campus well-wishers, who held up their phones and reached out to touch him, fans shrieking in delight as he shook hands.

“I’m not gonna wash my hands today!” people can be heard saying in the background of videos of the encounter posted to Weibo.

Ye Ziyu, a 26-year-old dining at a French restaurant in Beijing’s trendy Sanlitun neighbourhood, said she was also a Macron fan.

Most young people’s “first impression of him is of his love story with his wife”, she told AFP.

“We might not be very knowledgeable about his policies, but we still know a bit about him personally,” she said.

The reception given to Macron has also prompted some on Chinese social media to point out the irony of the embattled president finding a brief respite from public vitriol thousands of miles from home.

Chinese students “welcome Macron like an idol, but in France, students would question him and even throw eggs and flour on him”, one Shanghai-based Weibo user said in a post on Friday.

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#Young #energetic #Macron #wins #Chinese #fans

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