China accused of canceling German book event on Xi Jinping

Chinese critics responded angry to the cancellation of the event in commemoration of the publication of a new German book about President Xi Jinping at the explicit request of a Chinese diplomat.

Confucius Institute I was planning an online presentation of this book at two universities in Germany. Xi Jinping — The Most Powerful Man in the World By Adrian Geiges, a longtime Chinese correspondent for Stern magazine, and Stefan Aust, a former editor-in-chief of the news magazine Der Spiegel.

However, book publisher Piper Verlag said the event was “cancelled with a sudden notice due to Chinese pressure.” According to the company, Feng Shui Yang, the Chinese consulate in Dusseldorf, has personally intervened to ax one of the events scheduled to take place at the University of Essen, Duisburg.

Piper Verlag said an employee of the Confucius Institute said, “I can no longer speak Xi Jinping as an ordinary person. Do not touch or speak.”

The controversy refocused on the role of the Confucius Institute, an organization run by the Ministry of Education department of China, which provides language and cultural programs abroad.

China sees this organization as a way to promote learning Chinese and culture and provide educational and cultural exchanges with the goal of “deepening mutual understanding and friendship” between China and other countries. ..

However, critics consider the institution as a way for Beijing to disguise itself as an education, block free speech on campus, and even spy on students.

Reinhard Butikofer, a member of the European Parliament and a frank Chinese critic, said the decision to cancel a book-related event was “outrageous.” “Chinese bureaucracy [allegedly behind the move] We have effectively shown why it is our duty to suppress and remove these Confucius Institutes, “he said.

Torsten Benner, director of the Institute for Global Public Policy in Berlin, said: He added that they are “a great reputation risk for the German universities affiliated with them.”

Feng Haiyang, Consul General of China in Düsseldorf

Consul General of China in Düsseldorf, Feng Haiyang © Luo Huanhuan / Xinhua / Alamy

In a statement, the Chinese Embassy in Germany said that the event at the Confucius Institute “should serve the common interests and concerns of both parties and should be planned and carried out based on comprehensive communication between partners.” Said.

China added that it would like to develop the institute into a “platform for better understanding, objective and comprehensive understanding of China.” “But we strongly oppose any politicization of academic and cultural exchanges,” he continued.

Felicitas von Lovenberg, Head of Piper Verlag, described the cancellation of the book’s event as a “disturbing signal.”

Ost said the situation confirmed the basic dissertation in his and Gaijis books. “The dictatorship is not only trying to overtake the West economically, but also pushing its values ​​internationally-values ​​that go against our freedom,” he said.

The event was to be held this week at the Confucius Institute at the University of Duisburg-Essen and the Leibniz Confucius Institute in Hanover. Piper Verlag said the presentation in Duisburg-Essen was canceled after the intervention of Wuhan University and the Chinese Consulate in Düsseldorf.

According to Piper Verlag, in Hanover, the Confucius Institute was co-owned by Tongji University in Shanghai.

Leibniz University Hannover said in a statement that the cancellation of the event was “unacceptable, embarrassing and incomprehensible.”

“Leibniz University Hanover is proud to be an international university with room for critical scientific discourse and interaction,” he said. It added that he invited Ost and Gaijis to read their books at college.

In a statement on Tuesday, the University of Duisburg-Essen said it was “not involved in planning or canceling the publication of the book.” “This decision cannot be explained to us and should not be repeated,” said Ulrich Ratke, president of the university.

China accused of canceling German book event on Xi Jinping

Source link China accused of canceling German book event on Xi Jinping

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