A larger than life statue of Communist philosopher Karl Marx will soon be unveiled on the 200th anniversary of his birth in the western German town of Trier. The extent of the outside interest has surprised the sleepy city on the Moselle river.
According to the official Xinhua news agency, he said Marx's name was "still respected all over the world" and that "his theory shines with the brilliant light of truth".
With celebrations starting Friday in Beijing, China is making the bicentennial part of a drive to reinvigorate its communist heritage, and underpin its growing global clout.
Far-right party AfD, which enjoys strong support in former East German states, staged a silent march with the theme "Get Marx off the pedestal" through Trier's city centre.
It tells the story of how Marx and Engels worked together on the labor movement and Communist Manifesto, despite official censorship and repression, after they first met in Paris in 1844.
Since 2015, China's President Xi Jinping has presided over a widespread crackdown on human rights activists.
China launched market reforms three decades ago, but the party keeps an iron grip on power. China overtook the U.S.in terms of trade with Germany in 2016. "They built a better life and made money, but they lost their soul and I think he's trying to restore that". "Unceasingly promoting the sinification and modernisation of Marxism is totally correct".
"Marxism has not only profoundly changed the world, but also China", the President said. "It's a process for solving problems more than a prescription for class struggle".
"We want to protest loudly against the unveiling of the Marx statue and raise our voices against the glorification of Marxism", said Dieter Dombrowski, president of the Union of the Victim Groups of Communist Tyranny.
European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said that Marx wasn't responsible for all the atrocities for which his supposed heirs must answer. "He was for equal treatment, for not suppressing differences".
But city council members and citizens were divided over whether to accept the gift from the Chinese government.
Xi noted that Marx, who was born in Germany on May 5, 1818, is the thinker of the millennium and the most brilliant intellectual of modern times, the master of the revolution of the proletariat and the working class all over the world, and the explorer of global communism. "Not only because it was Germany, but also because it was the birthplace of Marx".
Xi said Marx is the "teacher of revolution for the proletariat and working people all over the world, the main founder of Marxism, creator of Marxist parties, a pathfinder for worldwide communism and the greatest thinker of modern times".
German actor August Diehl played Karl Marx.