With every prominent dissident it arrests, Beijing shows us how those who are extraneous to the CCP can be dispensed with in the blink of an eye
Guiding China to what it sees as inevitable glorious heights, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) did not hesitate in recent years to tap into the Chinese artistic community to bolster the country’s image, turning to such luminaries as movie director Zhang Yimou (張藝謀) and artist Ai Weiwei (艾未未, pictured left), for example, to ensure the success of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
What recent events have shown us, however, is that as long as China’s artistic community toes the nationalistic line — and oftentimes amplifies it — artists will thrive and be left alone by the authorities. For the few who depart from that line, a far less elated fate awaits them, with outspoken critics like Ai, who created the “Bird’s Nest” Stadium for the Olympics, seeing themselves prevented from flying out of China and having their offices searched by state security officers.
In the process of sustaining its power, the regime has no compunction in making martyrs of former heroes, provided the exercise succeeds in dissuading others from continuing the fight. In other words, except for a very close circle of CCP officials, no one is beyond the vindictive hand of the party. By virtue of its ruthlessness and randomness, Beijing’s retributive apparatus is tightening its grip on every sector of society, ensuring that but for the most daring, the majority will keep silent and refrain from criticizing the party or calling for political reform.
My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.