200th Marx Anniversary in Trier
Event: Society and Politics
On the occasion of Karl Marx‘ 200th birthday on 5th May 2018, a delegation of the Chinese Association for International Understanding (CAFIU), the main partner organization of FES in China, travelled to Germany. The delegation led by CAFIU Vice President Ai Ping and General Secretary Zhu Rui attended a series of festive activities in the philosopher’s hometown, Trier.
After an introductory guided walk around the centre of Germany’s oldest city, the delegation attended the opening ceremony of the four special Marx exhibitions in Trier. Participants included the President of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate Malu Dreyer, Federal Minister of Justice Katharina Barley and FES President Kurt Beck. Following this event, the delegation had the opportunity to enjoy a walk around the new exhibitions that are open to the public until October.
The following day, the CAFIU delegation attended the re-inauguration of the freshly renovated birthplace of Karl Marx which is owned and managed by FES. The delegation had the opportunity to meet and greet the chairwoman of the German Social Democratic Party Andrea Nahles as well as Kurt Beck, Malu Dreyer and Katharina Barley. A further significant event was the unveiling of a 5.5m high sculpture of Marx, donated by the Chinese government, on one of Trier’s central squares.
As the speeches by Chinese and German representatives revealed, the evaluation of the legacy of Marx greatly differs among the two countries. Whereas Karl Marx is widely recognised as one of the 19th century’s most influential thinkers in Germany, he still remains a very controversial figure as well. On the other hand, China sees the fundamental principles of its system as originating from Marx’ thinking and refers to him with the corresponding reverence.
Nevertheless, representatives from both sides expressed their intention to see Marx as a “bridge” between China and Germany that may serve as the basis for a deeper, meaningful dialogue about the relationship between labour and capital in the 21st century.