Chinese artist and social activist Ai Weiwei Monday said the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) crackdown on demonstrations in Hong Kong is becoming more brutal.
He expressed his concerns that the West is not stepping forward to support the pro-democracy activists.
One of China’s most well-known dissidents, Ai spoke up about the Hong Kong crisis.
The human rights activist artist said that the Hong Kong government “cannot really decide anything” and that they “have to ask the central government.”
“China has no tradition or no way even to negotiate,” said Ai, adding that the CCP is “very, very stubborn” and “also very ignorant.”
“That is the character of an authoritarian society, so the future is pretty dark,” said Ai.
Ai, who has lived in Berlin since 2015, said during a BBC interview that he sent a team of researchers to document the Hong Kong protests, with the aim to create an artwork or a documentary film.
— Artsy (@artsy) August 9, 2019
Speaking from his Berlin studio, Ai said, “We hope it will end up peacefully, but anything can happen.”
He stated, “It’s very crucial, especially what happened yesterday, Aug. 11” and that “clearly you can sense the change in their tactics” from the Chinese authorities.
Ai, who was incarcerated by the Chinese communist regime in 2011, feared that the West is not showing enough support.
Ai, who believes in freedom of expression as a powerful tool against authoritarianism, said the United States should support freedom, democracy, and freedom of speech in Hong Kong.
Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei: “Freedom of expression is the most important weapon to combat authoritarianism. Authoritarians simply have no imagination, and without that, they have no future.” https://t.co/UjAqKWUAuy @HongKongFP @aiww
— IFEX (@IFEX) August 11, 2019
Earlier, Ai told the BBC that he did not think the U.K. government or the West would take responsibility, according to a report by the Guardian.
He stated that the Hong Kong situation is grave. “From what is happening today, about China’s condition, about this region–it’s a critical point,” said Ai.
“If they use violence, it’s not just bad looking or losing faith, it can signal something much bigger,” Ai said, adding, “It can be a collapse of a bigger structure.”
“So they are very careful,” said the Beijing-born Chinese dissident artist about the Chinese communist regime. “But they don’t know how to deal with it,” he continued.
Ai expressed hope and faith in the young people in Hong Kong, calling them intelligent and that these pro-democracy activists “understand the difficulties of their struggle.
“They are prepared for a long-range fighting,” said Ai. “They learn so fast, they start to act like water, so there gradually will come out smart, intelligent, and playful demonstrations in dealing with” the Chinese communist regime.
Ai told reporters that the “Hong Kong people will not be the loser because they are on the right side of history.”
Meanwhile, the protests continued. Early on Monday morning, the Hong Kong International Airport canceled all outbound fights after thousands of pro-democracy activists packed into the main terminal.
Concerns about the proposed extradition law and the CCP’s tightening grip over Hong Kong are underlying reasons for the on-going protests.
Hong Kong, a former British colony, was returned to mainland communist China in 1997.
The controversial bill would allow individuals in Hong Kong—citizens, foreigners, and even visitors—to be extradited to China to face prosecution under an authoritarian communist regime.