A Small German City Celebrates Karl Marx To Sustain Chinese Tourism
There's a lot of reasons to visit Germany: beer, castles, and ... Karl Marx? That's right, Mr. Seize The Means Of Production is a major draw for hundreds of thousands of tourists from China, and they've become instrumental to the economy of the moderately sized city of Trier, where Marx was born.
This would normally be a cute local quirk, if not for one little issue. The town is located in the former East Germany, and some locals are uncomfortable a) celebrating the man they associate with that regime and b) working to please China because of it. Thanks to the complete infusion of Marx, he literally tells them when to stop and when to go.
Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images"Maybe people will focus less on their Cold War memories if we make him into a cartoon gnome."
It's not just cute little stop lights, or the fact that the house is a museum. China commissioned and built a huge statue of Marx for the city center, though Trier was able to negotiate the size down from 21 feet to a more modest 17.
Thomas Lohnes/Getty ImagesBecause what former Eastern Bloc city wouldn't want their town looking like Red Square?
According to city officials, this is no big deal. Marx is an important son of the city, and it's entirely possible -- nay, encouraged -- to separate the man and his ideas from those who abused them. The fact that they stand to profit enormously from the statue, and that it was gifted to them by a repressive government, is entirely beside the point. Their faces must have been pretty red, then, when China confirmed in a party newspaper that glorifying communism was exactly the statue's purpose.