CARY – If you’re wondering how far the influence of the Communist Party of China extends across the globe, there is reason to believe at least an indirect influence has made its way to Cary.
A Chinese dissident applied, and was approved, to provide paintings for a recent art exhibit organized by the town, except when the paintings were revealed the town arts officials (yes they have town arts officials) decided the works were too insensitive to the powerful leader of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping.
From Radio Free Asia:
“Organizers of a recent exhibit of paintings by U.S.-based Chinese artist Weng Bing removed three out of 38 paintings, citing “political” content, RFA has learned.
Arts officials in the Town of Cary in North Carolina removed one painting depicting Chinese president Xi Jinping standing on the shoulders of late supreme leader Mao Zedong, surrounded by a sea of skulls.
A painting showing a hand reaching out to grasp the world with China colored in black, and a portrait of Xi splattered with grey paint were also taken down from the exhibit in the town’s Senior Center.[…]”
The official reason given for removing the three paintings was that they were “inconsistent” with the works the artist had submitted for review. While the artist, Weng Bing, applied a year prior to the exhibit, the paintings in question were not completed until a couple months before.
The ‘surprise’ exhibit pieces were apparently too political for the Town of Cary, not wanting to be insensitive to the communist president (for life) of China. Again, this is in Cary, North Carolina.
“Weng told RFA that she “strongly protested” the move to the organizers.
“The organizer made a point of asking me [on Jan. 18] about the hidden meaning of those three paintings,” she said. “But I received an email from [a town official] on Jan. 22 telling me to move them.”
“He said that he personally liked the paintings very much, and that he wanted to protect free speech, but that government departments have to take all views into account,” she said. “I asked him to make it very clear exactly who was being harmed by these paintings, but they weren’t there when I went for the launch party.”
“He told me that they were political works,” Weng said. “I am pretty disappointed in American freedom of expression.””
The “hidden meaning” of these painting is not hidden at all; they are critical of the authoritarian nature of the Chinese government, and Xi’s role in standing on the shoulders of a communist dictator that killed millions in order to now project themselves as a model of government for the world to follow.
With respect to Free Speech, actually, government in the United States is duty-bound to take all views in to account, as in respecting (and not censoring) the people with certain political views like Weng. The town officials did exactly the opposite, playing defense for a communist leader on the other side of the globe.
“Weng said she had decided to include political art in the exhibit after being forced to remain silent about human rights abuses when she lived in China.
She was inspired in particular by activist Dong Yaoqiong, who was sent for “compulsory treatment” after she streamed live video of herself splashing ink on a poster of President Xi in protest at “authoritarian tyranny” on July 4, 2018.
Dong, who made her protest in Shanghai, is now being held as a psychiatric patient in a women’s ward in Hunan’s Zhuzhou No. 3 Hospital.
“I was in China when she did that, and I wondered how it was that someone could just disappear after splashing some ink on a portrait,” Weng said. “I was very angry and felt for that young woman.”
“Our society is so sick that they even persecute the innocent … I couldn’t stay silent any longer,” she said. “I felt I had a duty as an artist to do this.”
Weng said she made the paintings several months after submitting her application for the exhibit in Cary.
Zhou Fengsuo, a veteran of the 1989 protests who now lives in the U.S., said Weng is using her art as a form of protest against dictatorship under Xi, who recently began a second, unlimited term in office. […]
“Chinese power extends into every corner of the earth.””
Even to all the way to the People’s Republic of Cary, North Carolina. Who’da thunk it?
Read more from Radio Free Asia here.