Thursday, July 30, 2015

Martin Liby Alonso: The West must not yield to Beijing – Daily News









Ai Weiwei refused visas shows on British appeasement policy toward Beijing. And it is part of an unfortunate pattern.






Ai Weiwei refused visas shows on British appeasement policy toward Beijing. And it is part of an unfortunate pattern.

Last week, Ai Weiwei finally returned his passport. This means that the Chinese artist and dissident to travel abroad again for the first time since he was put under house arrest in spring 2011.

That it is about a limited freedom of movement, however, was soon clear: On Thursday announced the British Embassy in Beijing Ai Weiwei that he denied the six-month business visa he applied for his London visit in conjunction with an exhibition in the fall. The reason is that the artist has been convicted in court and did not declare it in his application. Instead, he gets a special short-term visa allowing him to stay in the UK for 20 days in September.


This is a very strange decision from the British. Ai Weiwei has indeed repeatedly had problems with the Chinese police. After the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, which cost nearly 70 000 people carried the artist to a survey by the actions of the authorities in connection with the disaster. Many children had died and there was a suspicion that it was a consequence of the corrupt party bureaucrats embezzled money that would have gone to building more stable school buildings. It was not appreciated by the police, who beat Ai Weiwei difficult.

Three years later, he was suddenly abducted by security authorities after obstinately and publicly criticizing the regime and supported the democracy activists. The artist was accused of tax evasion and held incommunicado for three months before he was put under house arrest and was coated with what eventually became a four-year ban.

But Ai Weiwei refused business visa is likely not to list criminal record or his inability to declare this. Even if one ignores the fact that Ai Weiwei’s “trouble with the police ‘words about persecution of dissidents remains a simple fact: The artist was never convicted of any crime – he has only got to spend long periods locked up by the Chinese state, without either trial or them.

instead of the reason it denied the visa probably Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit the United Kingdom in October and that Ai Weiwei should not be there at the same time and in any way could interfere visit .

The British, compliance is against Beijing is lamentable. And unfortunately it is part of a clear pattern: When the Chinese flexes its economic muscle slopes Western democracies increasingly from his defense of dissidents and human rights criticism.

After Cameron early during his time in Downing Street 10 criticized China and received the Dalai Lama, the Communist Party’s enemy number one, froze Beijing portions of the diplomatic and commercial relations between the two countries. And it has had the desired effect.

In recent years, the British prime minister selected distance to the Dalai Lama. And in connection with democracy protests in Hong Kong, the country’s former colony, was London remarkably quiet.

The British are not the only ones to be exposed to Chinese pressure or fall away for them. During the last decade, both France and Germany, Portugal and Belgium were suffering financial reprisals after having received the Dalai Lama – and to some extent they have adapted.

After the Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, China imposed a boycott of Norwegian salmon. In a few years fell Norway’s share of the Chinese market for the fish from above 90 to below 30 percent. And when the Dalai Lama last fall visited Oslo kept government at a distance.

especially severe is the inability primarily among Europe’s democracies to close ranks. When Beijing was boycotting Norwegian salmon look at other countries the opportunities to gain market share, instead of showing solidarity. By selectively punish and bring benefits succeeds Beijing therefore play off countries against one another and get them to tone down criticism of human rights violations.

The world’s largest country becomes richer are obviously good – nothing has done more to reduce the Global poverty than China’s rapid growth. And that the country wants the voice and the responsibilities of a great power is natural. In several areas, it is important to work with and go to Beijing meeting.

But when it comes to human rights, and the defense of Chinese dissidents like Ai Weiwei, should the West never disappoint.






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