Archive for the Ai Weiwei Category

“Ai Weiweis will be washed away by history” – Ai Weiwei posts bond for tax evasion case [Global Times]

Posted in Ai Weiwei, Anti-China propaganda exposure, China, China-bashing, Corporate Media Critique on November 19, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Shan Renping

Nov. 16, 2011

Artist Ai Weiwei told foreign media recently that some 30,000 people lent him in total 8.8 million yuan ($1.4 million) to pay the tax bill and fine. The foreign media quoted a supporter of Ai as saying that the money was lent as response to oppression from the authorities and there were more responders than donations to the Red Cross Society of China. It seems that Ai is quite willing to let the world believe that he has gained support from the whole of Chinese society.

Is 30,000 a big number, compared to China’s population of 1.3 billion? Even weibo [Chinese Twitter] has more than 100 million users. Ai hoped to borrow 15 million yuan, but so far the sum he gained is only 50 percent of that. If Ai manages to borrow over 15 million yuan or even more and he returns all the extra money back while expressing his gratitude, it will be a perfect political performance.

Ai is a symbol of those dissidents that win full support from the West. Chinese people who have interest in politics all know him. But for those who don’t know him or cannot remember him, are not interested in his game of political confrontation.

The West has supported many dissidents in China. The Western media once regarded Wei Jingsheng, imprisoned in 1978 for 15 years, as “the father of Chinese democracy.” That “father” is now in some little corner of the US and journalists don’t even bother to report on him.

That’s a long list and most names on it are in oblivion. Ai is a fresh entrant. The West supports Ai and other people on the list and hope that a circle of supporters will be formed with them as the center. But Ai and his company should not think that it is government oppression that makes that circle fail to expand to the whole society. No real public opinion can be suppressed. For 30 years, Ai Weiweis have emerged and fallen. But China has kept rising despite their pessimistic predictions. The real social trend is that they will be eliminated in the rising process of China.

China is a nation of miracles. It is hard to unify people’s feelings toward the country. In the major direction, there have been many distractive factors, each of which could be exaggerated in the Internet era and be magnified into signs of the time. And the signs could be easily swamped by others. The real market for Ai is abroad. And to avoid being swamped, he needs to constantly do things that prove controversial.

We must say that without the support of the West, Ai is literally nothing. The obstacles Ai meets are actually just acting against the outside forces that are pushing Ai against China. Ai is just willing to be a fulcrum for the West to use against China.

Of course, Ai and his company might have their chance, if the Chinese government makes big mistakes or if Chinese society loses judgment under the rhetorical attacks from foreign countries. As a matter of fact, their prospects are closely connected with China’s misfortune.

Then let’s hope their luck is not so good. Their appearance could serve to keep a prosperous China vigilant. As I mentioned above, there are always opposing forces to China’s development and they always claim the opposite of Chinese people’s interests as being representative of the people. From Wei Jingsheng to Ai Weiwei, the force never grows big but also never ends. This is a constant potential worry for China.

We’ve no idea whether those 30,000 people who sent money to Ai are from China or abroad. Let’s hope the Chinese among them know clearly what they are doing rather than just following emotional slogans.

The author is a commentator with the Chinese edition of the Global Times.

Article link: http://www.globaltimes.cn/NEWS/tabid/99/ID/684306/Ai-Weiweis-will-be-washed-away-by-history.aspx

Exclusive: Ai Weiwei breaks his silence [Global Times]

Posted in Ai Weiwei, Anti-China media bias, China, China-bashing, Corporate Media Critique on August 15, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

August 9, 2011

by Liang Chen

* Excerpted *

Ai Weiwei’s first interview since being released from detention started with a tour of the renovations he’s having done to his home and studio in the Caochangdi Art District in northeast Beijing.

“I’m having my studio and kitchen painted, and I’ve bought some new furniture to give the place a fresh look,” said Ai, looking relaxed in a deep blue T-shirt that hung loosely on his more svelte frame.

Ai may have a new-look home and body but he remained politically feisty during a six-hour, exclusive interview with the Global Times.

Though a prestigious artist, he has been catching the world’s attention more often in recent years through his vigorously campaigning for democracy than for his art. He has been labeled by international media as one of the strongest critics of the Chinese government.

While Ai continues to demand reforms, he said he has never called for a change to the form of China’s government. “Overthrowing the regime through a radical revolution is not the way to solve China’s problems,” Ai said. “The most important thing is a scientific and democratic political system.”

Throughout the day, Ai seemed his usual droll self, neither becoming too excited nor ever seeming despondent. At times he seemed flirtatious and was above all relaxed. “It feels good to be home,” Ai said in an off-guard moment as he stretched out to pet his cocker spaniel.

The outspoken artist was released on bail on June 22 and the authorities said he had confessed to tax evasion and promised to pay the overdue amount. Authorities maintain Ai’s company, Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd, had evaded a “huge amount” of taxes and intentionally destroyed accounting documents, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Ai’s detention sparked an international outcry with the Western media politicizing the case and the Chinese government telling them to mind their own business.

Ai agreed to be interviewed but insisted that he not be asked about details of his detention.

Ai said he has resumed normal life and although a condition of his bail forbids him from using Twitter, he still surfs the Internet for news.

Most afternoon [sic] he spends several hours with his 2-year-old son, and he walks around the art district where he lives. “I didn’t have much time with my family members before, but now I have plenty of time. I see my son as often as possible,” Ai said with a fatherly smile on his face.

Despite the sensitive issues surrounding his case and his release, Ai talked openly about his emotions, ideas and his thoughts while in custody. “I was cut off from the outside world. No one told me when I would be released. It felt like I had fallen heavily into a collapsed pit,” said Ai, sitting comfortably with his legs folded under him on his new couch.

Ai said not knowing what was happening to his case was the most worrying especially when he thought of his family. “I missed my mother and my son. I was worried that I might not get to see my son grow up,” said Ai.

During the serene afternoon at Ai’s expansive studio a cat strolls through the courtyard, glances at the dog and disappears. Ai admits he’ll be more cautious in the future but he hasn’t softened.

“I’ve been drawn into the vortex of politics,” Ai told the Global Times. “I will never avoid politics, none of us can. We live in a politicized society.” Ai crossed his arms and looked serious. He paused for a thought and continued: “You give up your rights when you dodge them. Of course you might live an easier life if you abandon some rights. But there are so many injustices, and limited educational resources. They all diminish happiness. I will never stop fighting injustice.”

‘Economic crime’

Ai was detained at the Beijing airport on April 3. The authorities disclosed until April 6 that the police was investigating Ai for suspected economic crimes. On June 22, the authorities released Ai on bail after he reportedly signed a statement indicating he was guilty of tax evasion and willing to pay the overdue tax bill, Xinhua reported.

Ai admitted to the Global Times that he signed a document but says it was not a confession. He agreed that if he were proven guilty he would accept the punishment.

“I am the art director of the company and don’t really pay any attention to its financial situation,” he conceded.

Ai’s wife Lu Qing is the legal representative of the design company.

The artist’s claim of innocence is not all that convincing to his many critics.

“The crux of the matter is simple: Ai is involved in a criminal case. He was detained because he was suspected of having evaded a large amount of taxes,” Liu Nanlai, vice director of the Research Center of the Human Rights at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) told the Global Times.

Liu explained that even though Ai said he was not aware of tax evasion conducted by his accountant, obviously, “the accountant won’t evade tax without any order from management.”

Xiong Qiuhong, the director of the Institute of the Criminal Action Law at the CASS said that it is common for Chinese artists to intentionally or unintentionally evade taxes.

“Many famous artists have been caught and punished for evading taxes. Ai’s case is not the only one,” Xiong said.

Xiong wants the local authorities to try Ai in a public trial on tax evasion. “In this way, we can prevent Westerners from politicizing the case,” Xiong said.

Xiong also warned, “if you are a dissident, you should keep your a** clean and not get involved in any crime, so that local governments cannot find you guilty.”

* Political artist *

While the international community has lauded Ai for his art and for pushing the boundaries of free speech in China, many Chinese experts have criticized him for his extreme acts both in art and politics…

…”I don’t mean to politicize my artwork. I’m complying with the principles of ethics and aesthetics. Art is connected to politics,” Ai told the Global Times.

Ai spent 12 years in New York where he had several exhibitions of his works and met visiting Chinese artists such as film directors Feng Xiaogang and Chen Kaige, and composer Tan Dun.

He also gained fame for having a hand in the design of Beijing’s iconic National Stadium known as the Bird’s Nest.

Ai also conducted his own, private investigation into the list of schoolchildren killed during the 2008 Sichuan earthquakes. He clashed with local authorities after claiming the number of students killed were high because their schools were poorly constructed. He mounted a shocking and disturbing installation in Europe that comprised of 9,000 brightly colored student backpacks.

His activism hasn’t hurt the sale of his art. In February, Ai’s piece “Kuihuazi” (Sunflower Seeds) sold for $560,000 at Sotheby’s in London after it had been on display at the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in London.

…Some critics have also condemned Ai for his close connections to what they call “foreign forces who want to descend China into turmoil.”

“Foreign countries won’t pass up any opportunity to defame the Chinese government and threaten the regime to prevent China from enjoying its hard-earned era of peace and development,” [prominent TV and Internet figure] Sima Nan said.

“Ai’s case has been used by the Westerners,” Wu Danhong, an assistant professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times. Wu is another critic who says Ai may be in cahoots with an unseen international conspiracy. “By condemning China’s repression of dissidents in the name of democracy, foreign countries that don’t want a stronger China intentionally attempt to descend China into turmoil by hyping Ai’s case.”

Yet Wu also wants to see a more transparent legal system in China that will enhance public trust. “Dealing with legal cases openly and transparently will plug the loopholes that are being used by the ill-intentioned,” Wu said.

* ‘No one is above the law’ *

Contingent on his being allowed to leave China, Ai has accepted a teaching offer at the Berlin University of the Arts.

Even though the terms of his release restrict him to Beijing for a year, Ai said he would never consider permanently leaving the country. “People with black hearts should be exiled, I will never leave,” Ai said with a laugh.

Although the outspoken artist is banned from speaking to the Western media, “including through Twitter,” for at least one year, he returned to the Internet via a Google+ account last week.

Along with his innocuous inaugural comments on Google+ (“I’m here, greetings,” and “Here’s proof of life”), he also posted a gallery of black and white photographs from his time in New York as a young artist in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.

The Google+ community has quickly taken notice. As of the press time, more than 9,000 users have added Ai to their circle of contacts.

“Look, the information explosion, and the development of the Internet, have made the impossible possible. This is the best time for China,” Ai said.

Ai said although he has strong political opinions he is not all that sure of himself. “I’m an artist, but I’m more than that. I’m the type of person who can easily feel insecure and fill with worry,” said Ai pensively. “I just want to do something to increase our sense of security in China.”

Ai agreed to talk to the Global Times even though the paper’s editorial was highly critical of the West’s politicizing of the case against the rebel artist. It was one of the few papers in China to touch the subject of Ai’s detention who said he agrees with the editorial’s main premise.

“No one is above the law,” said Ai.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Full article: http://www.globaltimes.cn/NEWS/tabid/99/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/670150/PageID/590470/Exclusive-Ai-Weiwei-breaks-his-silence.aspx

Ai Weiwei released on bail [People’s Daily]

Posted in Ai Weiwei, Beijing, China, Fraud on June 24, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

The Beijing police department said Wednesday that Ai Weiwei has been released on bail because of his good attitude in confessing his crimes as well as a chronic disease he suffers from.

The decision comes also in consideration of the fact that Ai has repeatedly said he is willing to pay the taxes he evaded, police said.

The Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd., a company Ai controlled, was found to have evaded a huge amount of taxes and intentionally destroyed accounting documents, police said.

Source: Xinhua

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90776/90882/7417845.html

“Ai Weiwei’s Smashing Success at the Art Market” by Yoichi Shimatzu – An exposure of a fraud [The 4th Media]

Posted in Ai Weiwei, Beijing, China, George W. Bush, Iraq, Liu Xiaobo, Shanghai, Turkey, US imperialism, USA on May 2, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

April 15, 2011

At a London auction held October 18, 2008, a three-photo work of Chinese avant garde artist Ai Weiwei was sold for a bid of 49,250 pounds sterling or about a half-million reminbi. The triptych, from a limited edition of eight identical pieces, was formerly owned by the Galerie Urs Meile, which is based in Lucerne and the 798 Art District in Beijing.  Ai Weiwei is a world-renowned artist and dissident, recently arrested on charges of financial irregularities related to his new Shanghai studio, which his supporters claim was prompted by political motives.

The Phillips de Pury auction catalog, describes the photograph series produced in 1995:  "The tripartite documentation of this now-famous act is the perfect illustration of Newton’s three Laws of Motion:  a poker-faced Ai holding the urn (the law of inertia), the urn dropping in midair (the law of resultant force), and the vessel’s fragments at his feet (the law of reciprocal actions)."

The series titled "Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn" is described by the auctioneer as "a painstakingly deliberate close-up of the split seconds required to permanently transform an artifact that had survived over two thousand years."

“Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn” – “art” as evidence of Ai Weiwei committing a crime

Permanent transformation is a contrived way of saying: the ancient ceramic vessel was smashed deliberately by someone the Tate Modern has hailed as "China’s greatest artist."

The seller added: "While the triptych gained notoriety as an iconoclastic gesture, it encapsulates several broader constants in Ai’s work: the socio-political commentary on the random nature of vectors of power; questions of authenticity and value (vis-à-vis the artist’s comment that the value of ‘Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn’ has today exceeded that of the once-prized urn itself), and the cycle of creative destruction necessary for any culture’s survival and evolution."

The photograph set is something more than the visual record of an artistic gesture.  It is evidence for a criminal investigation under China’s Antiquities Law, which forbids destruction of the nation’s cultural heritage.

If this case is brought to trial – and the Ministry of Culture would be grossly negligent if it fails in its duty – the prosecution would first have to determine the nature of the charge related to urn smashing. Was it an act of vandalism, malicious in intent and senseless in its end result?  Or was it a commercial crime aimed at profiteering from the image of destruction, made possible by the urn’s intrinsic cultural worth and its market value, as described in the catalog?  In short, is Ai Weiwei mainly a vandal or a crook?

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Editorial: West’s support of Ai Weiwei abnormal [Global Times]

Posted in Ai Weiwei, Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, China, China-bashing, Western nations' human rights distortions on May 2, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

April 16, 2011

Since early April, the arrest of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been used by some Western media as a stick with which to bash China’s human rights situation.

As a Chinese citizen, Ai undoubtedly enjoys favorable treatment from the West, which constitutes an intrusion of China’s legal system.  The Western bias toward Ai results from his confrontational attitude to the government.

Outwardly, some Western media insists the arrest is "not lawful in procedure." At heart, it tries to politicize the case, aiming to stir up those who are dissatisfied with the nation.  The West lacks the patience to discuss law, but has an interest in playing political games with China.

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Ai Weiwei – "China’s Conscience": And Another Dissident Bites the Dust [龙信明 Blog / Bearcanada.com]

Posted in Ai Weiwei, Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Beijing, Black propaganda, China, China-bashing, CIA, Corporate Media Critique, Julian Assange, Media smear campaign, National Endowment for Democracy, New York Times lie, Shanghai, Tibet, Tourism, Wikipidiot, Xinjiang on April 19, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Article contains some adult language / images – Zuo Shou 左手

[undated]

The Western media are once again having a field day about the detention of yet another “dissident”, this time the artist Ai Weiwei.

To hear the New York Times tell it, “Ai Weiwei Takes Role of China’s Conscience”. We could legitimately ask if Bradley Manning or Julian Assange are taking the role of “America’s conscience”, but perhaps we’ll leave that one for another time.

Ai Weiwei, Whom the NYT Rather Inappropriately calls “China’s Conscience”

Ai at Tian’anmen Square, gesturing obscenely towards the Gate of Heavenly Peace.

  • An Error in Fact:  Ai Weiwei did not design the Olympic “Bird’s Nest”
    First, let’s clear up a few misconceptions – starting with Beijing’s Olympic Stadium, the Bird’s Nest.

According to the NYT, “… the Chinese government asked Mr. Ai to collaborate with the Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron on the design for the Olympic stadium, known the Bird’s Nest.  He did so.  The result was a triumph.”

Or, according to the LA Times, “The 53-year-old Ai, designer of the “Bird’s Nest” stadium built for the 2008 Summer Olympics …”

Or The Economist, who wrote, “.. a lasting legacy in the shape of the “bird’s nest” stadium in Beijing built for the 2008 Olympics …

Ai Weiwei did not design Beijing’s Olympic stadium. In 2001, even before Beijing had been awarded the right to host the 2008 Summer Olympics, the city held a bidding process to select the best arena design.

Of the final thirteen evaluated designs, Li Xinggang of China Architecture Design and Research Group (CADG) exhibited a model of the bird’s nest, and this design became official in April of 2003 – fully five years before the Olympics began.

The innovative structure was designed by Herzog & De Meuron Architekten, Arup Sport and CADG, and was nicknamed the “bird’s nest” due to the web of twisting steel sections that form the roof.

Ai Weiwei was not involved in any way in the building’s design…  [I cannot locate any evidence that Ai had any creative input whatsoever.   The most one can get from Western  journalistic reports is that he was a “consultant” to Herzog & De Meuron, yet any creative content to that consultancy is a mystery.  From the most in-depth article on the story of the Bird’s Nest that I could find, Arthur Lubow’s China-bashing article “The China Syndrome” in the New York Times, Ai was at best a logistical, networking and/or sightseeing “consultant” for the foreign firm Herzog & De Meuron.  That article, which is strongly infused with anti-China propaganda from the author, quite starkly illustrates Ai’s persona as anti-China Chinese with a welter of the man’s quoted cynical and disparaging comments…but, compared with a wealth of input and commentary by the structure’s  actual architects and designers, gives absolutely nothing by way of explaining Ai’s creative “collaboration” in the design.  Ironically, this NYT article is primary evidence in undermining the paper’s later claim, mentioned above, that the Bird’s Nest design was “Ai[‘s collaborative]…triumph”.   As for any help from Wikipedia to clear this up, read the citations if you will  —  which also fail to provide evidence of Ai’s creative input  —  yet the entry on “Bird’s Nest”, like the NYT, clearly contradicts itself about Ai’s role. – Zuo Shou 左手]

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Political activism cannot be a legal shield – Editorial on Ai Weiwei case [Global Times]

Posted in Ai Weiwei, Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, China-bashing, Corporate Media Critique, Corruption, Germany, south Korea, south Korean human rights hypocrisy, USA, Western nations' human rights distortions on April 13, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

April 8, 2011

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is being investigated over "suspected economic crimes," according to authorities Thursday.  Some Western media outlets immediately questioned the charge as a "catch-all crime," and insisted on interpreting the case in their own way.

Western media claimed that Ai was "missing" or had "disappeared" in previous reports, despite their acknowledgement of Ai’s detainment.  They used such words to paint the Chinese government as a "kidnapper."

Now they describe the police’s charge as "laughable" and flout the spirit of the law.  They depict anyone conducting anti-government activities in China as being innocent, and as being exempt unconditionally from legal pursuit.

Diplomats and officials from countries such as the US and Germany on Wednesday rebuked China once again over human rights.  A mayor from South Korea also issued a statement pressuring China to release Ai soon.  Such intensive intervention has barely been seen in China of late.

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