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German Confucius Institutes Cancel Book Presentations After Pressure From China

October 28th, 2021 14:01

Ger­man media is report­ing that after pres­sure from Chi­na, two Ger­man Con­fu­cius Insti­tutes have can­celed a book pre­sen­ta­tion of a crit­i­cal biog­ra­phy of Chi­nese pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping. Accord­ing to a Börsen­blatt report:

Octo­ber 22, 2021 On Octo­ber 27, the book “Xi Jin­ping — the most pow­er­ful man in the world” was to be pre­sent­ed at an event orga­nized by the Leib­niz Con­fu­cius Insti­tute in Hanover and the Con­fu­cius Insti­tute at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Duis­burg-Essen. Piper Ver­lag announced that the appoint­ment was can­celed at short notice due to Chi­nese pres­sure. In Hanover, the Tongji Uni­ver­si­ty Shang­hai, which runs the insti­tute togeth­er with the Leib­niz Uni­ver­si­ty. inter­vened, so the Piper Ver­lag. In Duis­burg, the Con­sul Gen­er­al of Chi­na in Düs­sel­dorf, Feng Haiyang, inter­vened per­son­al­ly to pre­vent the event. An employ­ee of the Con­fu­cius Insti­tute sum­ma­rized the rea­son­ing as fol­lows: “You can no longer talk about Xi Jin­ping as a nor­mal per­son, he should now be invi­o­lable and unspeak­able.” That is not the posi­tion of the Ger­man Con­fu­cius Insti­tutes and their Chi­nese part­ners, rather they have received pres­sure from above in China.

[Trans­lat­ed with Google Translate]t

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The biog­ra­phy was writ­ten by two-well known fig­ures in Ger­man jour­nal­ism, includ­ing Adri­an Geiges, the long­time Chi­na cor­re­spon­dent for Stern magazine,

Con­fu­cian Insti­tutes are public edu­ca­tion­al part­ner­ships between col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties in Chi­na and col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties in oth­er coun­tries. In 2019, Inside High­er Ed described Con­fu­cian Insti­tutes as fol­lows:  

The Con­fu­cius Insti­tutes have long been con­tro­ver­sial. The cen­ters vary some­what across dif­fer­ent cam­pus­es, but they typ­i­cal­ly offer some com­bi­na­tion of Man­darin lan­guage class­es, cul­tur­al pro­gram­ming and out­reach to K‑12 schools and the com­mu­ni­ty more broad­ly. They are staffed in part with vis­it­ing teach­ers from Chi­na and fund­ed by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, with match­ing resources pro­vid­ed by the host insti­tu­tion. The num­ber of U.S. uni­ver­si­ties host­ing the insti­tutes increased rapid­ly after the first was estab­lished at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land Col­lege Park in 2004, grow­ing to more than 90 at the peak.

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