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Opinion

Xi Jinping – The Book

READER’S VIEWS - The Freeman

The book titled “Xi Jinping – der mächtigste Mann der Welt” (the mightiest man of the world) was published by Piper Verlag on July 1, 2021. Launching was planned to happen on October 28 simultaneously at the Confucius Institutes of the universities of Duisburg and Hannover. The authors, Stefan Aust and Adrian Geiges, thought it was appropriate that the Mandarin teaching institutes be chosen as the right places to host the events honoring the great Chinese leader.

But a few days before the envisioned date Stefan Aust got a call from the Duisburg Confucius Institute: “Oh, we are very sorry, we would like to host it, but we got an order from Beijing not to do it.” Stunned he asked: “Why, this is a book about China. It tells Xi’s life from all sides, it is not a China-bashing book.” Answer: “It is about Xi Jinping and they do not want this person to be touched and discussed... It is too dangerous.”

So the launching was held the same date at the German mother universities of Duisburg and Hannover.

What shall we think of a government that tries to censor academic freedom and stifle discussion and opinion building in a far-away and generally friendly-minded country? The answer is simple: Unacceptable! The principle of academic freedom is an uncompromising and inviolable boon in Germany and the entire European Union.

What should be done to avoid a repeat of Chinese interference in other countries’ inner affairs? Answer: Cutting loose the Confucius Institutes from the host universities. It is not acceptable that China hires, finances the teachers and dismisses them if not following the Xi-ism-inspired curriculum. It is not acceptable that professors take consulting fees from a country that ranges 177th of 180 surveyed countries in the Press Freedom Index in 2021. Only Turkmenistan, Eritrea and North Korea scored worse (Philippines: 138th).

There are 20 Confucius Institutes in Germany, co-founded and co-run by Germany and China. But some Chinese teachers and students abuse their right to stay by doing economic espionage and subversive actions in German institutions.

We expect that the new government of Social Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats will be more decisive than the Angela Merkel-led one that was simply silent during the past 16 years. Cooperation, yes; dependence, no. In case of abuse and blatant infraction of the rules, closure.

Erich Wannemacher

XI JINPING
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