Old campus sparkles for President Xi's visit

Updated: 2014-03-26 17:44


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President Xi Jinping arrived in Lyon, France's third-largest city, late on Tuesday. He will meet local academics and students at the Sino-French Institute, the first overseas institute established by China.

Old campus sparkles for President Xi's visit

The campus of L'Institut Franco-Chinois de Lyon (Sino-French Institute of Lyon) is decorated in readiness for Chinese President Xi Jinping's expected call during his state visit to France, March 26, 2014. [Photo by Li Xiang/China Daily]

The Sino-French Institute was located there from 1921 to 1946 and hosted nearly 500 Chinese students who went there to study, hoping to modernize their own country by learning from the West.

Chinese students in France in the 1920s included the future leaders Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping; the future vice-premier and foreign minister Chen Yi; one of 10 marshals of China, Nie Rongzhen; and one of the earliest leaders of the Communist Party of China, Cai Hesen. They were frequent visitors to Lyon, drawn to the institute to engage in discussions about political ideas and to contribute to local student movements.

A Sino-French institute in the city was first proposed in 1919 in a meeting between Chinese social activist Li Shizeng, who was the initiator of the Work and Study Movement in France, and Paul Joubin, the dean of the University of Lyon.

Xi arrived in Lyon on Tuesday, the first stop of his France trip.Later, the Chinese president will travel to Paris, where he will hold talks with French President Francois Hollande.

The two leaders are also expected to join a celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.

France is the second leg of Xi's ongoing four-nation Europe trip, which will also take him to Germany and Belgium.

Before arriving in France, Xi visited the Netherlands and attended the third Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague.


 Old campus sparkles for President Xi's visit  Old campus sparkles for President Xi's visit

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