About the Author

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

He has written and published extensively about Global language, the Competition for terminologies, and the End of translation. Dr. Pattberg discovered the Shengren as a unique, untranslatable, non-European archetype of wisdom; is the founder of Language Imperialism; and is actively promoting Eastern thought, in particular Chinese terminologies, on a global scale.

Inspired by Dr. Pattberg’s ‘How to translate Chinese key concepts’ the Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Madam Liu Yandong, launched a nationwide campaign: ‘Key Concepts in Chinese Thought and Culture.’ Currently, he is cooperating with Hanban (the Ministry of Education) and China’s Foreign Language Press on the publication of a collection of essays: Knowledge is a Polyglot.

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

Dr. Pattberg is a former 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 (IAHS), Peking University. He is the author of several monographs, including The East-West dichotomyShengren - Above Philosophy and Beyond ReligionInside Peking UniversityLanguage ImperialismDiary of a Mad Imperialist, and others. 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.’

Contact: pattberg ‘at’ pku.edu.cn



Dr. Thorsten J. Pattberg has contributed to Asia Times, China Daily, Global Times, Global AsiaGlobal Research, Corbett ReportChina Today, Shanghai Daily, Beijing DailyDie Zeit (German Times), Korea Herald, The Korea TimesTaipei Times, South China Morning Post, Southern WeeklyPeople’s Daily, The Diplomat, Dissident Voice, Thought Catalog, GQ British, The Telegraph, Big Think, Detao GroupBRICS MagazineRT Russia, Sivana East, New Delhi Times, Japan Today, and The Japan Times, has given public lectures, and is (or was) a member of several academic associations like the International Association of Comparative Mythology (IACM), the German East Asiatic Society (OAG), and the International Association for Comparative Study of China and The West (IACSCW).

He is a native of North Rhine-Westphalia, the City of Hamm -Read: ‘Der Konfuzius aus Bockum-Hövel‘.

Watch: How We Will Write In The Future (Big Think)

Selected works:

The East-West Dichotomy: The Conceptual Contrast Between Eastern and Western Cultures (Foreign Language Press, China)

Language Imperialism - ‘democracy’ in China (Japan Times)

Language Hegemony - It’s shengren, stupid! (China Daily)

The East-West dichotomy revisited (Asia Times)

Language, Imperialism, and Culture (Global Research TV)

US Imperialism 1900-2010 (Youtube)

Time for Chinese culture to strike back (Asia Times)

The East-West dichotomy - Yin Yang Trailer 2010 (Youtube)

Holy Confucius! Some Observations in Translating “shengren” (Amazon)

Shengren - Above Philosophy and Beyond Religion (Amazon)

The East-West dichotomy (Youtube)

Chinese Concepts Lost in Translation (Shanghai Daily)

On Academic Imperialism and Language Imperialism (Stop Imperialism)

Confucianism by other names appeals in Europe (Shanghai Daily)

Language and Empire: My Language, Your Prison (Global Research)

China: Lost in Translation (Asia Times)

The End of Translation (Asia Times)

Europe’s path to a new humanism (China Daily)

Promoting untranslatable words (Taipei Times)

The Coming of Post-Translational Society (Big Think)

Lingualism - A New Frontier in Culture Studies? (Asia Pacific World)

China must make its mark on global language map on its own terms (SCMP)

Truly global vocabulary needs ‘untranslatable’ Chinese terms (Shanghai Daily)

Add junzi to sushi, yogi and fengshui (The Straits Times)

The China Dream a far cry from the American Dream (Shanghai Daily)

Global Language -  The Chinese Dream, no wait, Meng! (Big Think)

On Hacking, Cyberwar and the Chinese Dream (Corbett Report)

Making a Nation’s  Dream Come True (China Daily)

怎么翻译中华文明的核心词 (南方周末

Constructing an American Confucianism (Asia Times)

English translations don’t do justice to ‘untranslatable’ Chinese concepts (People’s Daily)

The Public Intellectual and The Marketing of World History (Global Research)

China and the West Grow Closer through Higher Education  Cooperation (gbtimes)

Language is a Polyglot - The Future of Global Language (Big Think)

Dangers in China’s Confucianism nostalgia (Asia Times)

外国人眼里的中华文明 (此间)

Has Beijing’s Trojan Horse Developed a Limp? (BRICS Magazine)

The perils of being associated with China (The Korea Times)

The Chinese really love Harvard (and they’re turning it into a Chinese outpost) (Thought Catalog)

Films vis-a-vis nations’ global role (China Daily)

The rising cult of China experts (Asia Times)

Times and culture beckon Confucius back (China Daily)

How China’s Ivy League Obsession Shortchanged Homegrown Universities (Global Asia Journal)

Free Asia-Pacific from Western hold (China Daily)

德国学者裴德思说:包子烤鸭不需要翻译 (北京日报)

Everything is NOT awesome (Ai Weiwei) (British GQ Magazine)

Star Wars is Taoism in American garb (China Daily)

House of Mei a legacy of Peking Opera (The Telegraph)

Democracy is the opiate of history’s losers, as Japan proves (South China Morning Post)

A Song of Winter and Spring (China Daily)

All you need to know about the BRICS 2017 Summit in China (New Delhi Times)

Reassure HK, remind Britain SAR no longer a British ‘colony’ (China Daily)


The views expressed in these works are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the above mentioned institutions.

7 Comments on About the Author

  1. “In the end, my PhD application [to Harvard] wasn’t successful, but I was kindly informed about an opening for a research fellowship, so I re-applied for that and got in.”
    For the sake of clarity, I recommend that you not list yourself as an alumnus of Harvard; especially if you list it in conjunction with your degree granting institutions. “Former research fellow” is more accurate.

  2. You post a photo of Yang Rui, China’s most famous bigot, without shame? You’re an embarrassment.

  3. Congratulations! Nice and good articles. Sorry, I did not go through every piece of it but read your twitter of July the 10th-The world needs a common language.

    Yes, it is true and the common language is being recommended by UNESCO in 1954. The language is called Esperanto. As a German you are, you should not be too unfamiliar with the word Esperanto.

    The document from UNESCO can be found here


    China has many Esperanto speakers and in fact, Beijing University was first one to conduct Esperanto decades ago but rather now silent.

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