The backlash has been scathing and widespread. French President Emmanuel Macron's three-day trip to China raised eyebrows even before it began, given the large and eager delegation of French business leaders that accompanied him to the world's preeminent autocracy last week. But it has drawn howls of fury now that it's over.
At the center of the controversy is an interview he gave to reporters from Politico and French daily newspaper Les Echos during the visit while aboard COTAM Unité, France's version of Air Force One, where he sounded a set of talking points that would have likely pleased Beijing. In a reference to concerns about China's plans for Taiwan, Macron warned that Europe should not get "caught up in crises that are not ours." He also said that he hoped the continent could build up its "autonomy" instead of becoming a "vassal" in the service of a bigger power's agenda.