French architect Patrick Henri Devillers has been arrested by Cambodian police, reportedly with the co-operation of Beijing, which is seeking his extradition. Also reportedly, Phnom Penh is in a process of deciding whether to send Devillers to France, or to follow a demand to extradite him to China. According to the BBC’s Chinese website, Devillers is a friend of Bo Xilai‘s family, and a business friend of Bo’s wife Gu Kailai. According to a Le Monde report, Devillers had first met the Bo family in Dalian, just as another foreign Bo/Gu contact, Neil Heywood had.
But their businesses were different, and not interlinked, Deviller was quoted in the Le Monde report, in May this year (i. e. weeks before his arrest).
“What we had in common is that we were married to Chinese women. We knew each other (…). What I can say about him is that he wasn’t in the bluff. He had a great mental nobility, in the English traditions of honor.”
“On avait en commun d’être mariés à des Chinoises. On se connaissait (…). Je peux dire de lui en tout cas qu’il n’était pas du tout dans l’esbroufe. Il avait une grande noblesse d’âme, dans les traditions anglaises de l’honneur.”
Devillers had first arrived in China in 1987, aged about 27, to learn Chinese, according to Le Monde. It was there that he met his wife who studied the classical zither [probably the guzheng - JR], and started a movie project about the Tian An Men movement in 1989, which ended with the massacre.
During the 1990s, much of his work involved working with the Dalian city government’s architecture and urban planning department.
The way Devillers comes across in the Le Monde article suggests that he took a great interest in China’s intellectual history, and particularly in Taoism.
» Oh, Rule of Law, April 11, 2012
» No Extradition without Evidence, Telegraph, June 20, 2012