French museum pulls Genghis Khan exhibition after China objects to name 'Genghis Khan'

The French history museum calls the move an attempt at censorship and suppression of Mongolian culture and history

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A museum in France has delayed its Genghis Khan exhibition after an attempt by the Chinese Government to censor certain words and materials surrounding the showcase.

The exhibition was a planned collaboration between the Chateau des ducs de Bretagne and the Inner Mongolia Museum, a regional museum in Hohhot, China. The Inner Mongolia Museum is focused on the traditions and the history of the Mongolian people, including the life of the 13th century emperor Genghis Khan.

But the history museum, Chateau des ducs de Bretagne in Nantes, pushed back when Chinese authorities called for certain words, including “Genghis Khan,” “empire” and “Mongol,” to be removed from the exhibition, Agence France-Presse reports. Chinese authorities later asked for control over exhibition brochures, legends and maps, the museum said.

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

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The museum called the modifications proposed by the Chinese Bureau of Cultural Heritage a censorship of the initial project, and an attempt at a “biased rewriting aimed at completely eradicating Mongolian history and culture for the benefit of a new national story.”

Ethnic Mongolians across Inner Mongolia, a province of northern China, have seen repeated attempts from Beijing to suppress their language and culture. In September, a plan to institute Mandarin-only lessons sparked protests across the province.

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A statement on the Nantes museum’s website outlined the situation and explained the modified schedule.

The exhibition’s release had already been pushed back once because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with an initial release slated for 2021. Now, the museum says the exhibition will open in 2024. Taking its place is a new display featuring pieces from European and American collections.

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