Vortrag: China’s Forced Confessions: The Performance of Obedience

Plakat für den SDAC Vortrag von Magnus Fiskesjo am 16.05.2022.
Plakat für den SDAC Vortrag von Magnus Fiskesjo am 16.05.2022.

We are very honored to welcome Magnus Fiskesjö from Cornell University for the very special guest lecture he kindly agreed to give to us. For this lecture, he will talk about “China’s Forced Confessions: The Performance of Obedience.”

The lecture will take place in person on Monday 16th, 2-4 pm.

For more details, see the poster below. Please email studium-sdac@fau.de to register for this event.

Over the last decade, forced confessions have gained new importance as an instrument of social and political coercion in China. The authorities frequently disappear, detain, prepare, and then parade people on state television, both Chinese and foreigners, forcing them to publicly denounce themselves. This extra-legal practice breaks with the previous years of efforts to build a judicial system in China, as horrified Chinese legal professionals have also noted, before they, too, have been silenced. It casts aside past declarations of the intent to terminate both torture and forced confessions, which have an ignominious history in China. The new confession spectacles instead suggest a broad revival of Mao-era praxis, with echoes from Russia. This raises new questions about these painstakingly choreographed spectacles, widely regarded as false, both in China and internationally. Because of multiple witness accounts provided by recent victims, we know quite a lot about how the confessions are coerced. Yet many questions remain about „why“ this is done, including why the Chinese authorities invest so heavily in these plainly illegal and scarcely believable measures which may seem to bring as much shame to the authorities, as the public shaming originally intended for their victims. In this lecture, Dr. Fiskesjö will discuss these issues and also present elements for an updated anthropological theory of the self, which should be expanded to account for the hitherto understudied destruction and replacement of the self.

For further Information refer to the Website of the SDAC or the PDF.