Ai Weiwei criticises the West for their part in mounting tensions with China

An avidly outspoken critic of human rights violations committed by China, Ai Weiwei has flipped the script this week in a condemnatory letter against the West, circulated by Toronto’s Gardiner Museum where “Ai Weiwei: Unbroken” is due to open at the end of February.


The exhibition features many works in which Ai addresses social conventions and the plight of those living under tyrannical regimes.


The Beijing-born artist’s statement targets the US and Canada for their complicity in China’s rise, accusing them of “profiting from the status quo”. He writes: “The West’s apparent conflict with the situation in China is because of its refusal to acknowledge its complicity in creating this monstrous regime. In the end, 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… 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.”


Ai’s criticism comes in the midst of the fraught relationship between China and the West, following the United States’ request for Canada to arrest Meng Wanzhou, Chinese telecom giant Huawei’s chief financial officer, and the subsequent apparent retaliatory detainment by Chinese officials of Canadian citizens.


Read Ai Weiwei’s full statement here.



Katy Cross