After Cancellation Reading About Xi Jinping Takes Place After All

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Instead of the Confucius Institute at the University of Duisburg-Essen, the reading from a biography of the Chinese head of state Xi Jinping is now being carried out by the East Asia Institute. The previous cancellation apparently happened after influence from China.


An initially cancelled reading from a biography about the Chinese head of state Xi Jinping in Duisburg is now taking place. The online event will be held this Wednesday evening as planned, but not from the Confucius Institute at the University of Duisburg-Essen, but from the University’s East Asia Institute itself, said a spokeswoman for the university on Tuesday. The university will put the dial-in link on the university website.

However, in Hanover, the reading will not take place on Wednesday, as a spokeswoman for the university announced on request. Instead, one is in discussion with the publisher for a new date.

The readings planned at the same time at the Confucius Institutes in Duisburg and Hanover had previously been cancelled – apparently after influence from China. “Our cooperation university in Wuhan kindly explained to us that they would not find it a good idea if we hold the event,” said one of the three directors of the Duisburg Confucius Institute, Markus Taube. However, the process had caused sharp criticism. “The freedom of research and teaching is not negotiable,” said Duisburg University Rector Ulrich Radtke in a statement on Monday.

The authors of the book “Xi Jinping – the most powerful man in the world” are the “Welt” editor Stefan Aust and the journalist Adrian Geiges. According to the publisher, the biography was published on July 1 of this year. Confucius Institutes are based on cooperation between Chinese and German universities and serve to promote cultural exchange. The cancellation was the first case of influence in Duisburg, said the spokeswoman. Several media had previously reported on the cancellation.

On Monday, Aust said after the temporary cancellation: “I am extremely surprised. I couldn’t have imagined that there would be pressure from Beijing to prevent an event with us and about our book. The book is a very sober and factual account of Xi Jinping’s career, quite critical but factual. Or as it says in our book: You should judge the most powerful man in the world at the moment for yourself. As a reason for the rejection, an employee of the Confucius Institute explained to us: ‘You can’t talk about Xi Jinping as an average person. He should now be inviolable and unspeakable. “”

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