Sunday, January 29, 2006


History Lesson: Montargis

I appreciate a newspaper (journalism publishing organisation, now that paper is rarely the medium) which provides some history as well as current events and opinions. Such was the case in Liberation yesterday, in an article about an aspect of the French town of Montargis. Apparently, the same theme was the subject of an article in Le Monde last March.

I've been to Montargis at least a couple of times; perhaps "I've been through" would be more appropriate, because I was only "there" driving somewhere else. Maybe next time I'll linger and visit.

In 1920, students from China had come to study agriculture in the school in Montargis; to support themselves, at least some of them worked in a nearby factory which manufactured rubber soles for shoes. Wikipedia notes :
"In the 1920s, the town's Chinese community was inhabited for a time by the young
  • Deng Xiaoping and
  • Zhou Enlai
, future Communist party leaders in China."
"Dans les années 20, y habita une importante communauté chinoise :
  • Deng Xiaoping,
  • Zhou Enlaï
y passèrent une partie de leur jeunesse, ainsi que d'autres moins connus (dont
  • Li Weihan, vice-président du sénat,
  • Li Fuchun, vice-premier ministre, ou
  • Chen Yi, ministre des affaires étrangères
), dont la plupart travaillaient à l'usine de produits caoutchouteux Hutchinson, à Châlette-sur-Loing."

Add Li Shizeng, founder of the Work Study movement. Add Cai Hesen, a young student who wrote on August 13, 1920, to his friend Mao Zedong explaining the necessity to create a Chinese Communist Party to save China and the world. Add Xiang Jinyu, who studied at the college du Chinchon, the first woman to open a school in China.

I never would have guessed.


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