In an op-ed (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung F..A.Z., March 9), Sinology professors Bjoern Alpermann (University of Wuerzburg) and Gunter Schubert (University of Tuebingen) branded criticism of self-censorship and appeasement within German-language China studies toward the Chinese government as “crusaderism.”
With ad hominem allegations rarely seen in German academic written exchanges, both authors called discussants of this academic discourse „moral crusaders“ (author’s translation) and established China scholars were labeled as „new crusaders“ (author’s translation). Thorsten Benner, Co-Founder & Director of the Global Public Policy Institute pointed out on Twitter that Alpermann and Schubert demonstrate a “most impressive capacity for cognitive dissonance when one claims: ‘Serious China research needs differentiation. Polarization makes it blind’ and at the same time one calls dissenters ‘moralizing crusaders’ who have fallen prey to ‘delusions of decoupling.’”
In addition to these polemical personal attacks, Alpermann and Schubert brushed away arguments and existing research by claiming that there is no evidence for a growing influence of China on German China studies.
Andreas Fulda (University of Nottingham), Mareike Ohlberg (German Marshall Fund), David Missal (Sinologist and Tibet Initative Initiative), Horst Fabian (independent scholar), and Sascha Klotzbuecher (University of Goettingen) have replied with their own op-ed titled “Grenzenlos kompromissbereit?” (Willing to compromise without limits?) (F.A.Z., March 16).
You can read the German version here (paywalled). Pre-print of this article. The English translation of our op-ed is below.
Sascha Klotzbücher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Willing to compromise without limits?
In view of Xi’s policy of repression, China studies must rethink its role. Ignoring problems and stigmatizing critical voices are the wrong way to go. A reply to an op-ed by Björn Alpermann and Gunter Schubert.
By Andreas Fulda, Mareike Ohlberg, David Missal, Horst Fabian and Sascha Klotzbücher.
Last week, sinology professors Björn Alpermann and Gunter Schubert branded the criticism of self-censorship and appeasement within German-language China studies toward the Chinese government that has flared up in recent years as “crusaderism” (F.A.Z., March 9). Critics of the conformist course, including authors of this article, were defamed as “moral crusaders” and stigmatized as defilers of their own nests. The authors brush away arguments by claiming that there is no evidence for a growing influence of China on German China studies. Continue reading