Ai Weiwei: 'Too late' to curb China's global influence
The Chinese artist and dissident says the West should have worried about China decades ago.
It's certainly true that China has become much more assertive in recent years.Growing influenceUntil around a decade ago, China presented a modest face to the world. The official government slogan was:"Hide your light and bide your time". Ministers insisted that China was still a developing country with a lot to learn from the West.
Then Xi Jinping came to power. He became secretary-general of the Chinese Communist Party in 2012, and President the following year. He introduced a new tone. The old modesty faded, and there was a different slogan:"Strive for achievement".In some ways China is still a developing country, with 250 million people below the poverty line.
Yet it is already the world's second-biggest economy, and is on course to overtake the US over the next decade or so. China's influence in the world is becoming more and more obvious, at a time when America's authority has visibly declined.
Image copyrightImage captionHu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, rejects any suggestion China is an international bullyI've seen for myself the clear signs of China's growing political strength and involvement right across the world, from Greenland and the Caribbean to Peru and Argentina, and from South Africa and Zimbabwe to Pakistan and Mongolia.
The chair of the British Parliament's foreign affairs committee, Tom Tugendhat, has recently accused China of pressurising Barbados to dump the Queen as its head of state.Today, China has a significant presence virtually everywhere on the globe. Any country which challenges its basic interests suffers for it.
When the Dalai Lama visited Downing Street, Anglo-Chinese relations were put into deep-freeze. And recently, when the speaker of the Czech Republic's parliament visited Taiwan, a top diplomat warned that"the Chinese government and people will not sit idle when facing the open provocation from Czech Senate Speaker and the anti-China forces behind him and must let them pay a heavy price".
Multiple stand-offsYet the outspoken and highly influential editor-in-chief of China's Global Times newspaper, Hu Xijin, rejects any suggestion that China is an international bully."I want to ask you, when did China ever pressure any country to do anything against their will? It is the US that continues to carry out sanctions in the world, especially economic sanctions on so many countries. Which country do you know China has sanctioned?
"Did we ever sanction an entire country? Only on specific issues did we express our dissatisfactions, and only as a reaction when our country has been openly offended."Yet China is currently involved in angry stand-offs with a whole range of countries: Taiwan, Australia, Japan, Canada, India (with whom China recently fought a violent border skirmish), Britain and of course the US.
The language the Global Times sometimes uses can sound like the worst rhetoric from the old Mao Zedong days.Mr Hu himself recently wrote an editorial describing Australia as"the chewing-gum under China's boot". When I asked him about this, he said that the current Australian government had repeatedly attacked and annoyed China.
"I do feel they are like a piece of gum stuck to bottom of my shoe. I can't shake it off. It's not a nice feeling. I said it as an expression and it is my right to an opinion."On Hong KongMr Hu is close to President Xi, and we can assume he wouldn't say these things unless he knew he had the backing of China's top leadership. When I asked him for his views on Hong Kong, he didn't hold back.
"The Chinese government does not object to Hong Kong's democracy and liberties, including Hong Kong people's right to demonstrate peacefully in the streets."But the key is, they have to be peaceful… We support the even more resolute use of force by the Hong Kong police against violent protests.
"If the violent protesters threaten police life, when they launch very sharp projectiles, and throw petrol-bombs or Molotov cocktails at police, I believe police should be allowed to use their guns, and they should open fire."Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionAi Weiwei:"Today is the darkest day for Hong Kong"Strong stuff, and if the police in Hong Kong really did start shooting down demonstrators it would result in a huge international reaction.Most foreign observers think that China's aggressive behaviour in fact hides an underlying nervousness.
The Communist Party isn't elected, so it has no way of knowing how much genuine support it has in China. It can't be certain of surviving a serious crisis - a major economic collapse, for instance.President Xi and his colleagues are haunted by the memory of how the old Soviet empire simply vanished between 1989 and 1991, because it lacked any support from ordinary citizens.
Mr Hu doesn't accept that a new Cold War has started. China's dispute, he says, is basically with the US. He makes the point that President Donald Trump's attacks on China are very much linked to the presidential election on 3 November, and his efforts to win it.
Indeed after the election, the atmosphere is likely to improve - whoever wins.China is too big, too involved in everyone's lives, for the US and its allies to remain in a permanent state of outright hostility towards it.But that simply reinforces Mr Ai's warning: that it's now too late for the West to protect itself against China's influence.Read more: BBC News (UK) »
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Ai Weiwei is Chinese Spy! F U China He's probably right. Certainly, British bosses have jumped at the chance of exploiting cheap labour & ignore China's horrendous human rights record in order to greedily make themselves billion pound salaries whilst sacking all their loyal UK staff. I won't buy anything Chinese.
badiucao Empires crash and fall. Always. badiucao Lol his name is I wee wee? I've begun to strongly suspect this in recent years. But it's a defeatist position to just accept a situation with potentially horrific consequences over coming years and decades. Do not simply Bow to the Great Inevitable. 什么仇什么怨
Western countries also influence China. No country is isolated Some rancid pretend journalist / presenter in regard to Trumps cheating & tax avoidance in a country where 100's of 1000s die for lack of any healthcare says .' some would say it's clever to avoid tax ..... ' - WHAT THE VERY F BBC - Time to shut down - Reith would weep!
what a shameless trator F u Where's your UK state-affiliated media label? xdeathenginex It ain’t never too late. As long as the western countries do not wimp out. There are a lot of countries we should have worried about. Aiweiwei is just a joke
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Rare albino camel is captured on camera at a nature reserve in ChinaFootage shows the rare camel with its all-white skin drinking from a puddle with a dozen brown camels at the Annanba Wild Camel National Nature Reserve in Gansu Province. You know what helps ED? Albino Camel bone powder. That will be eaten soon then by the Chinese
Rare albino camel is captured on camera at a nature reserve in ChinaFootage shows the rare camel with its all-white skin drinking from a puddle with a dozen brown camels at the Annanba Wild Camel National Nature Reserve in Gansu Province. And I'm sure they will kill it. Grind it up for dome half ass cure to something......except covid....then they just shoot you If it was spotted in China, it was probably an alpaca dressed up as a camel. Just like the knock-off Rolexes and Iphones. RIP that albino camel, the Chinese are going to dine like kings
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