Paul French

Foreigners in China are lacking a collective memory and do not learn from their mistakes, says author Paul French in the Australian Newspaper The West, not only looking at his own 20-year experience, but going back to the beginning of last century.

The West:

“Foreigners have been doing business in China for a long time,” he says. “But the thing I find interesting is that, as foreigners in China, we have no collective memory. People are making mistakes in 2012 in China that their great-grandfathers made in 1926.”

It’s a memory lapse, he argues, “that has cost us a lot of money and, given some of the books I’ve written and some of the books other people have written, there’s not really any excuse any more. You’re just lazy if you haven’t caught up with that stuff.”

It’s French’s belief in the importance of collective memory too, that compelled him to focus on a 75-year-old murder mystery in his recent and ninth non-fiction book, Midnight in Peking. This page-turning probe into the brutal slaying of Pamela Werner, the 19-year-old daughter of a British diplomat, in Peking in 1937 has attracted the interest of both the BBC and ITV, as well as Oliver Stone, and is the result of a five-year-long trawl through the archives on three continents.

More strong arguments in The West

Paul French is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

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