Renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has no hope for his country ever becoming a free-spirited society as long as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is in power. He was responding to the current political tensions between Canada and China. Weiwei is currently in Canada preparing for his exhibition at Toronto’s Gardiner Museum on February 28, 2019.
“Nothing will change… China completely ignores so-called universal values. It is under the control of a one-party system where its citizens have never had the right to vote. And without voting rights, there is no responsibility or trust in society. There is no independent press or media. What can you expect? I think that China has done quite well under those circumstances. The real problem comes from the West where there is a complete lack of vision and responsibility, only an interest in profiting from the status quo,” Weiwei said in a statement (Canadian Art).
Regarding China’s arrest of two Canadian nationals following Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’s arrest in Canada, Weiwei said that it was an “unsurprising” reaction from Beijing. He argued that such actions are to be expected since forced detentions and disappearances without due process are common in China. The country apparently does not have any clear laws, but only interpretations of law depending on the CCP’s interests.
Weiwei was also critical of the West’s lax attitude toward China’s human rights and environmental violations over the past decades. He said that the West was blinded by its belief that prosperity would bring democracy to China and decided to overlook numerous injustices of the CCP. He warned that dictators never relinquish power.
While Weiwei is correct in his analysis that the West foolishly tolerated the CCP out of a false hope that the party would realize its mistakes, it is also true that the U.S. and other Western nations have been taking a tougher stance against the Chinese regime recently. The U.S.-led international boycott of Huawei is believed to be just an initial step in a wave of anti-CCP actions planned by Western nations.
Tougher stance against China
The Canadian public also seems to be supportive of their government, expecting them to take a tougher stand against China. A recent survey conducted by the Angus Reid Institute showed that almost 44 percent of the respondents want Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to get tough against the Chinese communist regime. Only 20 percent want Canada to soften their stance.
“This is no surprise. China’s recent dealings against Canada have been ugly: detaining two prominent Canadians for bogus reasons, calling us ‘white supremacists,’ demanding we accept Huawei into our 5G grid. It was only inevitable that this bullying behaviour would turn public opinion against China,” according to the Toronto Sun.
Canada has so far abstained from banning Huawei from selling 5G equipment in the country to avoid “worsening the relationship with China.” This despite several U.S. warnings that China will use Huawei to spy on Canadian citizens. However, several experts are said to be urging the Trudeau government to heed the U.S. warning and announce a ban on Huawei. They believe that this would send a strong message to the CCP that Canada is not a country to be bullied.