Release Ai Weiwei!
Statement by Jens Galschiot, 8 April 2011
Release Ai Weiwei!
On Sunday 3rd April the renowned artist Ai Weiwei was arrested by Chinese police. Attempts to contact the artist have been in vain and the Chinese authorities deny any comment on the issue. Allegedly some sort of financial crime is the core of the issue. This accusation is dubious and can be used for anything.
Danish artist Jens Galschiot has on two occasions been denied entry to Hong Kong as a result of his artistic commitment in co-operation with the Democracy Movement. He has a permanent ban for entering China. On the occasion of Ai Weiwei’s arrest he declares:
“I energetically condemn the arrest of Ai Weiwei. He is one of the world’s most prominent artists, he makes outstanding artworks, and lately he has made a comprehensive exhibition at Tate Modern. All these activities highlight the fact that China has become an important part of the international art scene. Ai Weiwei stands as a prominent representative of the Chinese people, promising for the future.
I am deeply concerned that China now once again has displayed its totalitarian face to the world and once again has committed an encroachment on its own citizens. This shameful act reveals that China still has a long way to go before it can be regarded a state based on the rule of law protecting its citizens against arbitrary abuse of power.
I urge all artists of the world to express their protest against the detention of Ai Weiwei. Likewise I request the Danish government and all democratic governments to condemn the arrest. This abuse should not go unheeded, especially as China has become one of the most important trading partners of the West. Therefore we have a special obligation to express our concern.
In particular I summon the governments of Hong Kong and Taiwan to protest. These two entities with Chinese population enjoying free speech have a special obligation to express their disapproval of an infringement committed by Mainland China. Maybe the Chinese government will be more sensitive to criticism from their own compatriots”, Jens Galschiot concludes.