ヨーロッパ博物館

19世紀後期、ヨーロッパはアジアを、主に、美術的なインスピレーションの源、あるいは帝国主義的野望の中心として捉えていた。一方、アジア人はヨーロッパを、明治期の日本において近代化のモデルとして、あるいは中国において衰退のバロメーターとして見ていた。1世紀後には、日本経済の奇跡が、ヨーロッパ人の目に映る日本のイメージを、少なくともアジアの一地域から、急速な技術的、工業的進歩がある場所へと変えた。そしていま、21世紀初期にあたり、欧州連合が独自性と自信の危機に陥っている一方で、アジアの経済は急成長し、アジアにおけるヨーロッパの、そしてヨーロッパにおけるアジアの認識は、劇的に変化している。

有名なアジア人、例えばシンガポール元首相リー・クアンユーは、ヨーロッパ人に対し、もしこのままの路線を進み続ければ、ヨーロッパは、観光とハイエンド不動産以外は全て、急速に的外れになるだろうと警告している。香港とロンドンを飛び回る有名な中国人ビジネスマンは、もっとはっきりと述べた。数週間前のパリにおいて、ビジネスや政治のトップが集まる私的な会合で、彼は「あなた方ヨーロッパ人は、間違った主題-憲法、福祉国家、年金危機-に時間をかけたことで、そして打ち立てた問題に、間違った答えを組織的に出すことで、第三世界になりつつある。」と述べた。

ヨーロッパ人のアジア観は概して、そして特に中国に関しては、より複雑であり、明白な調節から新しく尊重される競争者へ、さらに純粋なイデオロギーの拒絶へと揺れる。1968年5月、フランスで、学生-少なくとも、その一部-が、毛沢東主義下の中国、つまり残忍で無分別な文化革命の最中であった中国に憧れる新しい世界をこしらえようと、デモ行進をした。彼らの不合理かつ凝った心酔ぶりは、失業など実質無いに等しかった富裕な社会が生み出した結果が倦怠であったように、毛沢東の犯罪を知らないことの産物であった。

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