“Sino-France Cultural Exchange In Beijing”

Shared in honor of the exhibition recently held in Paris ~ “The Villa of Dr. Jean Bussiere (1872-1960), a French Doctor in Beijing.”**DB

“Sino-France Cultural Exchange In Beijing”

by Vanisa Wei via “iDigest”

From the beginning of 1900s to 1930s, there were a number cultural exchanges between China and France in the northern part of Xishan (the Western Hills), in the Haidian District of northwest Beijing. If the Haidian District Government can take full advantage of the history in that area and make scientific planning to develop the available resources, it will not only improve the local economy but raise the brand awareness of that area.

Important Historical Figures


Andre d’Hormon (1881-1964)

D’Hormon, with another two Chinese educators Cai Yuanpei and Li Shizeng, initiated a work-study program for Chinese students studying in France around 1920. He also persuaded the French Government of the times to establish the Sino-French University and its affiliated institutions in Beijing. These facilities can provide language and other trainings for students prior to going to France. Through this program, a number of important figures in Chinese history, first Premier of the PRC Zhou Enlai and major reformist Deng Xiaoping among them, were fostered. .

At that time, d’Hormon was a professor at Peking University. During his tenure, who should be a librarian in the Peking University Library but Mao Zedong, later the first president of the People’s Republic of China. Whenever d’Hormon needed to borrow a book from the library, Mao would deliver the book to the professor in person, according to the Brochure of Sino-France Cultural Exchange in Beijing by Publicity Department of Beijing Haidian District Committee of the Communist Party of China.

D’Hormon lived in Beijing for 48 years, returning to France in 1954. He used his last 10 years to proofread the French edition of A Dream of Red Mansions, translated by Li Zhihua, a graduate from the Sino-French University. It should be noted that d’Hormon translated some of the poems from A Dream of Red Mansions in a style of ancient French poetry based on the Chinese poems original meaningsso that French readers might better understand the Chinese classic. The French edition of A Dream of Red Mansions was published posthumously and was well received by French readers.

D’Hormon remained a bachelor all his life and left behind no children. He spent almost half of his life in China and devoted the rest of that life towards researching Chinese culture after he returned to France.


Dr. Jean Bussiere (1872-1960)

Dr. Jean Bussiere came to China in 1912 and worked as a physician in Beijing’s French Legation Office . Later, Bussiere worked as the campus doctor at Yenching University in Beijing. When the Sino-French University was founded, Bussiere acted as the chief executive director.

Dr. Bussiere spent much of his life in the Xi Shan areaof Beijing. With superior knowledge regarding medicine, many nearby villagers visited the doctor seeking treatment for various maladies. Much of the time, Dr. Bussiere treated them for free., making him a popular figure in the area..

Bussiere was a key figure within the circle of French expatriates living in China. The living room of Xi Shan villa was an important place for Beijing’s French population to congregate. He accompanied the French poet-diplomat and Nobel Prize winner Saint-John Perse on his travels through north China to help the latter know more about China.  . . .


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