Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Aye, Way, Way Out of Control

One of the readers here asked me about Ai WeiWei. Truth be told, he is much more famous outside of China where people read the Time-100. Most people here are unaware of the controversy.

It is true that China has, over the last few months, increased its arrests and indictments of people who use their pen and/or tongue to inspire dissent or reform. 

It is true that the recent decision to cancel the Documentary Film Festival is also an outgrowth of the chilling on what we, in the United States, see as the freedom of assembly and, more generally, freedom of speech. China is at a crossroads and there are those who think that some in the Party are not smart enough to see the graffiti on the wall, but I trust that they collectively know some further opening and reform is needed so that Chinese people can thrive in the kind of creative environment which leading world powers must maintain if they wish to rise to the top. Ambition, not morality will cause the forces on the National Communist Party's leadership to eventually (and I think soon) re-think the way that they restrict communications and the transfer of information. You are already beginning to see micro-blogs from certain ministries.

In my opinion,  Huntsman was right to speak out. There are large protests in Hong Kong about this and even a few reports that WeiWei is being tortured to get a confession. Who knows?

I suppose comparisons are odious, especially when made between a military person charged with defending the country and an artist whose raison d'etre is to challenge the system. Nevertheless, I cannot help but ask, "What is happening to Bradley Manning?"

In this season of Easter, maybe the best thing to say is, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."