Skip to content

Thorsten J. Pattberg

Research Fellow, Peking University

Dr. Thorsten J. Pattberg (裴德思 Pei Desi) is a German writer, linguist, and cultural critic. 

rn

He attended Edinburgh University, Fudan University, Tokyo University, and Harvard University, and earned his doctorate degree from The Institute of World Literature at Peking University. He studied under the guiding stars of Ji Xianlin, Gu Zhengkun, and Tu Weiming, whom he considers his spiritual masters. 

Dr. Pattberg is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, University of Tokyo; and a former Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies, Peking University. He is the author of four monographs 'The East-West dichotomy,' 'Shengren,' 'Holy Confucius,' and 'Inside Peking University,' and some of his representative articles are 'Language hegemony – It’s shengren, stupid!,' 'Long into the West’s dragon business,' 'China: Lost in Translation,' and 'The end of translation.' 


How China’s sixty million disabled are doing

BEIJING – James Palmer, a journalist from Beijing, reports about the ongoing plight of the disabled in China. His article deserves attention: Practical and communist “95% of orphans in China […]

Was Confucius a “Genius”?

BEIJING – There are probably as many definitions of ‘genius’ as there are vain, successful people. Yet, not everyone who is vain and successful is a genius; in fact, many […]

And I shall call you “Religion”

‘Religion’ is a Western word and concept. There’s only one “Religion” -this category. Naturally the West will generously promote “religious freedom” as long as terms and conditions apply: We are […]

People with a death-wish

ONE of my childhood buddies died unexpectedly at the age of eighteen. That was many years ago, in Hamm, Germany. While alive, he was a known brawler, a brutish drunk, […]

Is Western Media Biased Against China and Russia?

BEIJING – Western journalists (and bloggers) understandably often take deep satisfaction from exposing the corruption, megalomania, and banalities of authoritarian regimes -preferably great powers like China and Russia. But beware […]

The Monster in the China Sea

BEIJING AND TOKYO – The Chunjie celebrations have come to an end this week and, starting from next Monday, we can expect Beijing’s political retaliations against Tokyo and Manila for […]

Can Asians think? Yes, and no

“This is the character of the Chinese people […] unconstrained morality, in practice and theory, Heart, inward Religion, Science and Art properly so-called – is alien to it. […] The […]

No Division of power will be granted

SHANGHAI – The Wall Street Journal‘s recent investigations – those parts that went into final print – paint a rather mild picture of the stressful situation in China, mainly concentrating on […]

5 Big Ideas in the Year of the Horse

In the Chinese Zodiac, the horse symbolized high expectations, performance, and stubbornness. What better occasion than this to talk about the heavy work load that’s awaiting China’s leaders, economists, and […]

Only The Chinese Have Two Eyes

The Cyclops Polyphemus as a Metaphor for Western Civilization and its Linear Way of Reasoning “The Greeks only understand theories, but the Chinese are the people who own the technologies.” […]

They did it again

Red-hot news Jan 26 – Beijing has sent another activist, Xu Zhiyong, to prison. He fought against corruption and social injustice. Washington and Brussels protested vehemently on Sunday, and on […]

Why marrying a Chinese woman is a good idea

A German top official with the Goethe-Institute in Shanghai once remarked that “marrying a Chinese woman will make you rich.” This statement was soon retracted, and the man repatriated, but […]

My dear child Asia

“Underdeveloped,” “immature,” “effeminate” – such adjectives from the life-sciences were often used to describe East-Asian cultures in the 20th century. By erroneously seeing ‘culture’ as an organic, living entity -a common metaphor […]

In the Company of Wealth

“Now, working elbow to elbow with billionaires, I was a giant fireball of greed.” –Sam Polk BREAK it down: Obscenely rich people from 2013 meet in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss […]

The East is feminine

During the age of colonialism, Western powers conquered the people of Asia and objectified their women. This is well documented in literature, film, and scholarship: Here the dominant, masculine West; […]

Who is a Chinese?

This topic deserves more attention. Below you will find an [abridged] transcript of a fascinating talk given on Chinese identity by Frank Ching, an American writer and journalist. It touches […]

Monogamy as a Western Invention?

When the Western powers colonized Asia, naturally they enforced their own views on sex, gender, and relationships onto the subjugated civilizations. This is from a chapter on ‘Gender’ taken from […]

If you have a great idea, don’t tell everyone

“Hence the competition […] was sharp between book and book, brain and brain, constituting […] almost a gladiatorial spectacle for the entertainment of the sophisticated.” –A. R. Hall, Philosophers at […]

How to Live Forever: 12 Steps

“Universal History, the history of what man has accomplished in this world, is at bottom the History of the Great Men who have worked here.” –Thomas Carlyle, 1840 1. Be that […]

Chinese Top Universities Plagued With Corruption

BEIJING – Chinese universities are plagued with corruption. Last November, the clique around Cai Rongsheng at Renmin University got busted. The 48-years old ‘Chief of the Student Admissions Office’ tried […]

Harvard as a mid- or late-career choice

“Education isn’t about knowledge, it’s about privilege.Would we know about Hannah Arendt had she not studied under Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers? Let me be more specific, education is about the privilege […]