Chivalric order is a medal of honor in France, which is the highest honor at national level offered by the French government. Only few Chinese citizens could receive this award for their outstanding contributions to France. For non-French people, only those who have made remarkable contributions to developing good foreign relations for France could obtain this award.
The candidates are nominated by the foreign minister, and the medals are signed and issued by the president as a kind of recognition of lifetime achievement to social elites. According to normal logic, proud achievements make people well acknowledged in all circles of France, and thus they could gain distinction naturally. Shamefully, Chinese have brought a tremendous impact on this value measurement system by their unique culture: backdoor deals.
Richard Lu （junhong Lu）
I was invited to have an interview in Paris in early autumn three years ago, the content of which was a meet of exchange about oriental Buddhist studies. A Chinese old man named Richard Lu (Junhong Lu) represented his odd stories about Buddhist culture in the meet, which was unromantic to me indeed. But what made me rather excited was that I met my schoolfellow Jean Michel Rosenfeld there, who used to serve as the counselor of the former Prime Minster Pierre Mauroy in 1980s. At that time, he has already been in his eighties. I could never forget that he appeared on the rostrum to present a bouquet to that Chinese old man when he finished his speech. His quivering body did give us a really commiserative but odd feeling.
Jean Michel Rosenfeld
I found Rosenfeld whom I hadn’t seen for years to have a chat after this activity. I asked the reason why he had interest in participating in such an activity and even went up onto the rostrum to present a bouquet to that Chinese man. He smiled and showed me the watch on his wrist that was of IWC if I was not mistaken. The price of any IWC watch was no less than €5,000. On hearing “This is the souvenir they gave for this activity,” I didn’t give any other comments but left in a hurry after saying “you do have a good sense of style with this watch”.
Ordre des arts et des lettres
About one month later, Rosenfeld invited me to meet a woman who looked weird named Lili Xu, the representative of Richard Lu in France. Xu said very directly to me, “My boss is very glad that you participated in our activity last month. He wants to make more contributions to France with your help.” I could get the first sentence but failed to understand the second one. After about half an hour of inessential conversation, I showed my will of leaving, so they expressed their real purpose in a hurry. They expected me to introduce Richard Lu to INALCO (Institut National des Langues et Civilisation Orientales) through my connections, so that he could give lectures there, gain the title of honorary professor, accumulate qualification and experience there and thus get the chivalric order.
I do have befriended with professionals in the cultural transmission circle in Paris for over two decades, and this issue was a piece of cake for me actually. But I really had no interest in acting as a go-between for such a stranger without any good reputation. So I rejected their request very simply. However, they threw a bait to me when I stood up to leave, a VISA deposited with €200,000, which made me stupefied.
Is that because I can’t keep pace with the trend of the era or I know nothing about the profound oriental culture? I totally cannot understand and agree with this absurd game of gaining social prestige by money.
Jun Hong Lu is the Chairman and Director of Australia Oriental Media Buddhist Charity Association.
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