Another man approaches. He is introduced as the production manager. Other people come to greet him. And then they all enter the building. Someone explains that this is a showroom, they will show him the best of their production, they hope to develop mutually beneficial cooperation and this will only strengthen the friendship between the peoples.
They have hardly entered the building when they are lead to a small reception. There are several young women inside. They are dressed in silk robes. One of them immediately attracts Rochester’s attention.
Could it be the person who Michael spoke to him about? He feels his hand on his shoulder and their exchange of looks is extremely clear. Yes, that's it. The young woman is extremely beautiful. But there’s something sad about her, something lost. Who is she? The CEO speaks to them:
"These young people are the hostesses here to welcome such honorable guests to our showroom. They are part of our company sales staff. One of them speaks French. Miss Cao Yu!"
The young woman comes over and leans forward to greet Rochester:
"Mr. Rochester, welcome to our company. I will do my best to facilitate your stay." She keeps her eyes fixed on the ground.
Her accent is flawless, but Rochester refrains himself from asking her where she learned.
Zhou Xiaowen continues to make presentations in broken English:
"Miss Wang Weina, meanwhile, speaks English and I understand that in your country both languages are officially used. Both young women are from Chongqing, in Sichuan. We have recruited them to work in the sales department."
Rochester nods to all these words of welcome, but what can he say and how should he behave. Everyone lies here. The visit takes place normally. And then the negotiations start. The previous visit had established a preliminary agreement. Rochester is here to finalize things. How can he ensure that production doesn’t include forced labor? At noon, the meeting stops and they start lunch. They are accompanied by the two young women. Rochester chats with them. He learns that they previously worked in a hotel in Chongqing. Which hotel? The Hotel Yudu answers Weina. How strange, it is precisely the same hotel where he stayed the last time he went to Chongqing. Weina says they worked in administrative and commercial relations with companies to develop business tourism. The Yudu Hotel "loaned" them to the Lanzhou Clothing Factory. No, they do not know the details of the "agreement".
Then one thing leads to another, he learns that they both live in Ciqikou, a really nice neighborhood. He does not go further in his enquiry. He knows enough about that now. Michael always smiles. He wonders if this boy ever stops smiling.
After lunch, they go to the City Council. Again, exchange of favors, hugs, tea, and welcome. The Mayor makes a speech. Cao Yu gives Michael a hand for the translation. Rochester looks on. She seems tired and sad. The other hostess is always close to her as if she was protecting her. So what is the story of this girl and why so many lies about her? He looks on again. The production manager has approached the group. He is close to Wang Weina. Rochester is a wily old fox! He has been about a bit. He sees how the director is playing with Wang Weina, their occasional glances. As clear as spring water.
Casting couch behind it for sure. The Mayor ends his speech. It is Rochester’s turn to say a few words. He is used to this and does it promptly. Then, exchange of gifts. Journalists arrive. Flashes crackle. Serious things can start now. Fifteen minutes later a few of them find themselves in a small lounge. That is to say, Rochester and his faithful interpreter, the director Zhou, the director of production, Cao Yu and Wang Weina, some others, obviously business executives and another person who has just arrived.
Cao Yu accompanies this person, introducing her to Rochester. She is a lady of about fifty, still good looking, but seems tired by life.
Immediately the singing crystal-clear voice of Cao Yu:
"Mr. Rochester, may I introduce you to Ms. Liu Hong. She is assistant Director of the "Lanzhou Clothing Factory." She will attend the meeting. She knows some French. She is originally from Shanghai, which is an important city for the production of textiles in China."
Rochester carefully observes the lady. She seems overwhelmed by her function. The director invites everyone to sit.
The negotiation that ensues is not easy. Discussions are tough on prices, quantities, delivery times and business conditions. Rochester would like to know more about the conditions of production. He poses an indirect question. Everyone understands what he asks. Nobody is fooled but no one answers. He won’t insist and will think of an explanation for his clients.
In the end, isn’t the main thing to do business? Michael will probably tell him more later! The meeting ends around 6 pm. The director gets up. He speaks in Chinese. Cao Yu translates. She seems tired. Weina beckons her to sit down and asks Michael to translate. The Director approves. Rochester catches Liu Hong’s expression. How she looks at Cao Yu, as she was her lover. Yes, that’s it, of course!
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