Book Fair Fires Official for Approach to Chinese

The New York Times reports on the fallout from this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair controversy:

The fair, the world’s largest and most important, ended on Sunday with a traditional ceremony co-hosted by the German Foreign Ministry. But two Chinese dissident writers — the journalist Dai Qing and the poet Bei Ling — were not allowed to address the closing ceremony, despite what they said were invitations to do so.

Fair organizers later fired Peter Ripken, 67, who was the project manager for the trade show’s international center, blaming him for “persistent coordination problems in connection with this year’s guest of honor, China.”

Mr. Ripken said that it was the German Foreign Ministry, which has refused to comment, that did not want the dissidents to speak, and told the German news service Deutsche Welle: “The Foreign Ministry has stated explicitly that this fair is not there just for China, and I acted in accordance with this wish.” He said that the Chinese writers were never formally invited to address the closing ceremony.

Read the Deutsche Welle report here.

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