11.03.14 00:59 Age: 4 yrs
Edward Lehman of LEHMAN, LEE & XU and Legal Commentator on CCTV Remarks on Sex Scandal and Politicians’ Right to Privacy
January 24th – Beijing – The sex scandal of French President François Hollande and Actress Julie Gayet has caused an international buzz. CCTV’s Yang Rui sits down with long-time “China-hand” and legal expert Edward Lehman, of LEHMAN, LEE & XU, Italian columnist Francesco Sisci, and French Journalist Sabastien Ricci to delve into the issue of privacy for public figures. Yang Rui poses the debated question, “Where should the line be drawn between the right to privacy and the right to know.”
Two weeks ago, the French Magazine, Closer, released photos of a man, alleged to be French President François Hollande, leaving the Elysée palace on a scooter. The man in the photos is wearing a helmet and rides to the apartment of actress Julie Gayet, Hollande’s alleged girlfriend. After the incident, opinions within the French public range from wanting to cancel the status of “first lady”, that it makes the President seem more human, to thinking the whole affair makes the French President look ridiculous. Overall the French public seems not to care too much of such sex scandals in politics and, surprisingly, President Hollande’s approval ratings have risen among women.
Political Analyst Dominique Moisi remarks, “This is the most unpopular president in the history of the Fifth Republic, and he wanted to impress the French with the fact that he was a normal man, that he was a man of dignity, simplicity, moral rigor. And suddenly the French are discovering he is like others but in a less glorious manner, in nearly a more ridiculous manner.”
Edward Lehman, of LEHMAN, LEE & XU, and frequent guest of CCTV, remarks that the perspective of the American public towards affairs of this nature is very different from that of the French public; a rise in approval rating after something like this would be highly unlikely. Francesco Sisci and Sebastien Ricci agree that both the Italian and the French public are of a mind that a politician’s private life does not dictate his success as a leader.
In an interview with Time magazine, President Hollande said, in reference to his private life, “Private life is always, at certain times, a challenge. And it has to be respected.” In response to the media attention he said, “In my own situation I cannot show anything… And I believe that everybody now understands that President or not President, one is entitled to have a private life. But of course when one is President this creates duties and obligations.”
President Hollande was together with Valérie Trierweiler, a 48-year old arts columnist for a weekly magazine. They had been together since 2006 and she had attended official functions as the first lady. On Saturday, President Hollande said that he was speaking to the press in personal capacity and not as head of state before announcing, "I wish to make it known that I have ended my partnership with Valerie Trierweiler."
Edward Lehman notes that Section 9 of the French Code gives specific rights to privacy, which is not the same for public figures in America. Despite these strict laws regarding privacy in France, along with a pending lawsuit brought by Julie Gayet against Closer, the French magazine may look at this as a victory considering the international publicity and that this story sold more and half a billion copies. Fittingly, Edward Lehman quotes Oscar Wilde, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”
Politicians from around the globe have become entangled in sexual scandals, from Thomas Jefferson to the infamous Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Edward Lehman comments that the drive and personality that leads individuals into these positions of power can oftentimes also bring about scandals within their personal lives. The response of the public will determine the success to follow and the attitude of that response varies across the globe.
Edward Lehman is frequently asked to provide his legal and cultural insights as a guest of CCTV. He is the Founder and Managing Director of LEHMAN, LEE & XU China and has served more than 26 consecutive years "on the ground" in dealing with Chinese legal, tax, foreign direct investment, intellectual property, franchise, direct sales, and other business issues.
Edward Lehman is the longest serving Managing Director of any law firm (Chinese or Foreign) in the People's Republic of China, with more than 21 years in this position. In 1992 Edward Lehman founded LEHMAN, LEE & XU China (making it the 8th private law firm opened in mainland China). He was also the Manager and Chief Ethics Officer of different full service Chinese law firms, providing legal advice on a range of Chinese legal issues.
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LEHMAN, LEE & XU
LEHMAN, LEE & XU is a prominent Chinese corporate commercial full service law firm with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, a network of 31 cities throughout greater China, and Mongolia. The firm has been recognized as a "Red Chip" corporate commercial law firm in mainland China. LEHMAN, LEE & XU is managed by Edward Lehman, a long-time "China hand" and founder of LehmanBrown CPA. Mr. Lehman is the first foreign lawyer to work at a Chinese law firm since the founding of the People's Republic of China and has the "dubious distention" of being the longest serving manager of any law firm in China. He is the legal commentator to China Central Television, a fellow at the China Academy of Social Sciences, and a leading expert on corporate law with more than 26 consecutive years of practice experience in Mainland China.
To learn more about us, please visit our website at www.lehmanlaw.com.