In Brief

French Museum Postpones Genghis Khan Exhibition, Accusing Chinese Authorities of Censorship

A museum in Nantes says that it decided to pause the exhibition after Chinese authorities asked that names and terms like “Genghis Khan,” “empire,” and “Mongol” not be used in the exhibition.

A sculpture of Genghis Khan in Mongolia (via Ludovic Hirlimann/Flickr).

A history museum in western France has postponed an exhibition about the Mongol emperor Genghis Khan for three years, citing censorial interference by the Chinese government.

The Château des ducs de Bretagne in Nantes says that it decided to pause the production after Chinese authorities asked that names and terms like “Genghis Khan,” “empire,” and “Mongol” not be used in the exhibition.

The museum also alleges that the Chinese government asked to oversee the exhibition’s brochures, legends, and maps.

“We made the decision to stop this production in the name of the human, scientific and ethical values that we defend,” said the museum’s director, Bertrand Guillet, in a statement on Monday.

In June, the Chinese government instructed schools in the region of Inner Mongolia, referred to as Southern Mongolia by ethnic rights and independence groups, to replace Mongolian with Mandarin Chinese. The move marks an escalation of the discrimination against ethnic Mongols in China.

The Guardian reports that the exhibition in Nantes was planned with the Inner Mongolia Museum in Hohhot, China. The French museum says that the collaboration was hampered by the interference of the Chinese Bureau of Cultural Heritage, which requested changes that included “notably elements of biased rewriting of Mongol culture in favour of a new national narrative.”

The museum accused the Chinese authorities of “censorship” and said that its attempts to interfere in the exhibition underscored the “hardening … of the position of the Chinese government against the Mongolian minority.”

The Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism has not yet responded to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.

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