Huang Nubo: I’m getting published by Gallimard

NRK‘s recent interview with poet-tycoon Huang Nubo soon drifted, fittingly, into the realm of poetry. He is, after all, “first of all a poet” who became a businessman just “to survive”. (Before becoming a businessman, he survived as an editor for an Association of Mayors – at the time when he published his first poetry collection – and, before that, as an official at the Propaganda Department.)

“Do you know the French publishing house Gallimard?” he asked his interviewer. “They are one of the top publishers in the world. In the last hundred years, they have never published poetry by Asian poets [this is almost true], but this year they are going to publish a poetry collection by me.”

In other, possibly unrelated news, André Velter, since 1999 the director of Gallimard’s poetry series, was with Huang earlier this month in the latest edition of a Chinese-French poetry festival, organised among others by Huang’s company Zhongkun 中坤 in Beijing. It’s quite a coincidence for Huang to announce that his poetry will appear in a collection directed by Velter, just after he’s praised the Norwegian government for refraining from meeting the Dalai Lama. Had the Norwegians ignored China’s warnings and met the guy, he had implied, his investment plans in the country might not be able to proceed. Velter, a poet, and his partner Marie-José Lamothe, a photographer and tibetologist, have often written about Tibetan issues, and he hasn’t been particularly enthusiastic about Chinese rule in the region, which he describes as “a brutal occupation“.

That Huang is a poet is mentioned pretty much everywhere he’s talked about, but this blog actually quotes his poetry from time to time.

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amid Lama Drama, Svalbard sale, Norway hears Huang Nubo say he plans to invest $110m (over ten years)

Chinese tourism and real estate tycoon Huang Nubo 黄怒波 tells AFP that he’s planning to invest $110m over five to ten years in Norway, and reiterates his interest in developing tourism in Northern Europe. Recently he has been interacting with officials from that region, and from Norway specifically.

It helps that the Norwegian gov’t isn’t receiving the Dalai Lama too officially: if they had, it would be harder for Huang to invest there as the Chinese government wouldn’t approve of it, he adds. Norway is going through a Lama Drama at the moment.

Despite rumours to the contrary, Huang hasn’t yet declared interest in buying the large plot of Svalbard land that has just been put up for sale. Huang doesn’t do coal mining, which is what the seller wants to do on the land regardless of who ends up owning it. That said, just next to Longyearbyen looks like not the worst place to build a tourist resort. Chinese tourists do go to Svalbard already. On the other hand, the level of drama that already surrounds the deal, before anyone had time to talk numbers, suggests a Chinese bid might create just the same brouhaha as Huang’s attempt to buy land in Iceland.