Archive for February 18th, 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

When your Employer Suspects that you are a Communist…

Wang Fengbosee interview – and his colleague Zhu Hong lost their cases at the Higher Labor Court Cologne (Landesarbeitsgericht Köln, LAG) on Monday (February 13). They had sued their [former] employer, Deutsche Welle (Voice of Germany) for  discrimination, a case which the court rejected. There is no written opinion from the court yet, but according to an EPD (Evangelischer Pressedienst) report, the judge viewed the way Deutsche Welle accepted findings of an investigation by Ulrich Wickert in 2009 as evidence in Deutsche Welle’s favor.

Wickert had investigated allegations from Chinese dissidents and German authors, in 2008, that Deutsche Welle’s Chinese department had been “CCP-friendly”, and came to the conclusion that the allegations were completely unfounded. Back then, Deutsche Welle director Erik Bettermann told a Süddeutsche Zeitung reporter who inquired about the report that Wickert’s work had been “great”, but added that he didn’t want to publish Wickert’s report, as he didn’t want “to revive the China debate again”.

The court saw Deutsche Welle support for Wickert’s findings as evidence that there was no discrimination for ideological reasons. According to the plaintiffs, Deutsche Welle rejected the 2008 allegations against the DW Chinese department in public, but put the dissidents’ and other critics’ demands into practice, all the same.

Although there had actually been no allegation from Deutsche Welle that the plaintiffs were “communists”, the judge addressed this issue, saying that once Deutsche Welle, as a public broadcaster (Anstalt des öffentlichen Rechts) suspected an employee of being a communist or a supporter of national socialism, this was a sufficient reason to terminate the employment, EPD quotes the judge. The judgment is appealable.

Anstalt des öffentlichen Rechts is probably best translated as an independent public institution, and as I understand it, the issue may therefore affect employees in many other institutions with public or municipal tasks, too.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Valentine’s Day in Washington, D.C.

Yaxue Cao describes a day in the American capital, with Xi Jinping, Geng He, and – in a way – Chen Guangcheng.



» Human Rights and the Isolation Factor, July 5, 2008


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