Critics are not welcome in China, it seems. German publication Der Spiegel reports that sinology expert Tilman Spengler has been refused a passport by Chinese authorities because he is “not a friend of the Chinese people”. He was to have accompanied German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on a trip to Beijing where an art exhibition “Kunst der Aufklärung” (Art of the Enlightenment) opens today.
Spengler’s crime is most likely to have been speaking at the awarding of the Hermann-Kesten Medal to Liu Xiaobo in September last year. Liu later went on to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, much to the consternation of the Chinese government.
In comments made to Der Spiegel, Spengler says his case highlights how urgently enlightenment is needed by many of the talking heads in charge of large swathes of the Chinese government.