East German sinologists organized an international conference on East Asian studies in Leipzig in October 1955, bringing together scholars from most communist states and several scholars from Western Europe. This conference served to unite sinologists from both the Communist Bloc and West Germany in the early Cold War era. Since the Chinese delegation was particularly honored, this article suggests that China expanded its political influence in East Europe after the Korean War and the death of Stalin, which prompted a tension within the international communist community, especially between China and the Soviet Union. Moreover, this conference demonstrated a strong “modern turn” in the rising field of Asian studies, sinology in particular, because of the rise of the People's Republic of China in the 1950s.
Huaiyu Chen(Ph.D., Princeton University) is associate professor of School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies at Arizona State University. He has numerous publications on Chinese religious and cultural history, the Silk Road Studies, and modern intellectual history. He has held fellowships from Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Clare Hall of Cambridge University, and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. (MPIWG). Email: Huaiyu.Chen@asu.edu ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4118-3945