China now determines which books are allowed to be reviewed at some German universities and which are not?!? Beijing’s long arm has long since reached German universities – and is also enforcing censorship here.
The most recent case: book lectures by the authors Stefan Aust and Adrian Geiges, long-time China correspondent. The two journalists wanted to present their joint book “Xi Jinping – the most powerful man in the world” at the Confucius Institutes at the Leibniz University of Hanover and the University of Duisburg-Essen, among others.
However, according to information from Piper Verlag, these were canceled due to Chinese pressure. Tongji University Shanghai, which operates the institute together with Leibniz University, intervened in Hanover. According to Piper, Feng Haiyang, Consul General of China in Düsseldorf, personally intervened in Duisburg to prevent the event.
Pressure from the top
According to Piper, an employee of the Confucius Institute justified the refusals as follows: “You can no longer talk about Xi Jinping as a normal person, he should now be inviolable and unspeakable.” This is not the position of the German Confucius Institute and their Chinese partners, rather, they would have received “pressure from the very top” in China.
▶ ︎ “The cancellation of the event by the two Confucius Institutes is a disturbing and disturbing signal,” explained Piper publisher Felicitas von Lovenberg.
▶ ︎ Author Stefan Aust sees the basic theses of the book confirmed: “For the first time a dictatorship is in the process of overtaking the West economically and is now also trying to internationalize its values that are directed against our freedom.”
▶ ︎ Co-author Adrian Geiges explained that the book portrayed China in a very differentiated way, for example the overcoming of poverty was also addressed in the past decades: “Apparently, Xi Jinping is no longer enough with such balanced reports – he now wants an international cult for his own Person, just like in China itself. “
China is gone mad with censorship!
But why can China’s dictator determine which events take place at German universities? The reason are the Confucius Institutes, which are dependent on the Chinese government and cooperate with German universities.
Normally, however, they would not operate so obviously censorship, explains China expert David Missal, who has been working with the institutes for years.
“I have not yet heard of such a case in Germany. Beijing is usually more subtle about preventing critical events, ”says Missal. “Mostly there are individual cases that suggest self-censorship, but here the intervention was obviously made with great clarity.”
At the Confucius Institutes, events take place almost exclusively that are uncritical, do not deal with politics or are on the party line, but this is a clear case of censorship.
“Other Confucius Institutes have probably also removed announcements about this book launch from their websites,” says Missal. “So it seems to be a coordinated action, presumably by order of a higher authority from China, that makes it all the more worrying.”
Germans are calling for the cooperation to be ended!
The parliamentary groups of the FDP and the Greens had already dealt critically several times with the Confucius Institutes. Last year, the Greens asked the federal government to what extent the Chinese state was “influencing the events, teaching content and materials at Confucius Institutes in Germany”.
The Federal Government’s answer: “The Confucius Institute program is controlled by the official foreign policy cultural organization Hanban (“ Institute for Chinese Language Education”). The Hanban reports directly to the CCP’s Central Propaganda Department (ie, the Foreign Propaganda Office).”
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