Chinese gift of a statue of Karl Marx is dividing Germans, as his home town of Trier prepares to unveil it 200 years after his birth. The extent of the outside interest has surprised the sleepy city on the Moselle river.
Far-right party AfD, which enjoys strong support in former East German states, has separately called a silent march with the theme Get Marx off the pedestal through Trier's city centre.
Since 2015, China's President Xi Jinping has presided over a widespread crackdown on human rights activists.
Since coming to power in 2012, Xi has stressed the party must not forget its socialist roots as it works to attain the "great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation".
In the UK, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has described Marx as a "fascinating figure", saying he had "observed a great deal" and a "great deal" could be learnt from him.
The emphasis on Marx also helps widen the ideological gulf with Western capitalist democracies in the wake of such events as the 2008 global financial crisis and the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, Blanchette said. "Unceasingly promoting the sinification and modernisation of Marxism is totally correct".
"Marxism has not only profoundly changed the world, but also China", Xi said.
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In Marx's birthplace, the bicentennial is more about history and hospitality.
But speaking in Trier on Friday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Marx today "stands for things which he is not responsible for and which he didn't cause because numerous things he wrote down were redrafted into the opposite".
The 5.5-meter-high bronze statue was donated by China, and depicts a middle-aged Marx walking with a book in his left hand. "He was for equal treatment, for not suppressing differences". They include anti-communist and anti-capitalist demonstrations as well as a vigil in solidarity with China's banned Falun Gong movement, DPA news agency reports.
"There's no doubt that there's a political agenda behind it", said Christian Soffel, a Chinese studies professor at Trier University.
Xi noted that Marx, who was born in Germany on May 5, 1818, is the thinker of the millennium and the most brilliant intellectual of modern times, the master of the revolution of the proletariat and the working class all over the world, and the explorer of worldwide communism.
"Still, my father was happy when he heard that I was going to Trier", she said. The officials - the country's ambassador to Germany and the deputy chief of the Information Ministry, the government's propaganda arm - each paid tribute to Marx, though not in terribly Marxian terms. "They're more proud of Goethe".
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