Since early April, the arrest of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been used by some Western media as a stick with which to bash China’s human rights situation.
As a Chinese citizen, Ai undoubtedly enjoys favorable treatment from the West, which constitutes an intrusion of China’s legal system. The Western bias toward Ai results from his confrontational attitude to the government.
Outwardly, some Western media insists the arrest is “not lawful in procedure.” At heart, it tries to politicize the case, aiming to stir up those who are dissatisfied with the nation. The West lacks the patience to discuss law, but has an interest in playing political games with China.
Since we are not legal experts, it would be more dangerous for us to discuss the issue of “procedural justice” without obtaining the details of Ai’s case. With the socialist legal system improving daily in China, no ordinary citizen, let alone a celebrity like Ai, can be detained with an unwarranted charge. Even if there might be some loopholes involved in Ai’s custody, as some have speculated, they should be discussed in the framework of the law. Both the West and a small number of people in China are attempting in vain to persuade the whole of society to draw a conclusion that the government is persecuting pro-democracy figures in China.
That is not the real picture in the country.
The fact is that many public intellectuals, including some artists, have become well-known in recent years due to their sharp comments toward the government. Ai is but one recent example. The majority of this group has enjoyed the freedom to criticize almost everything, bringing them both fame and wealth. China has entered an era of unprecedented political tolerance.
Take Ai’s case as an example: He has won more media coverage and fame than many of his peers in recent years, mostly thanks to his biting comments and confrontational activities.
The belief that there is political persecution in China is a fallacy. Instead, the country is witnessing the unfolding of democracy. At the same time, that does not mean the people mentioned above can do whatever they want in the name of democracy, nor does the West have the right to set up a roadmap and timetable for China.
It is abnormal to hype up Ai’s case – the West seeks to refute China’s basic political system by paralyzing its legal system. The West will undoubtedly oppose any future verdict on Ai Weiwei, as it aims to put down Chinese values.
The West is adept at resorting to cases involving dissidents when conducting political conflicts with China. At this crucial moment, maintaining a solid and clear mindset to resist the tests and temptations of the West remains a long-term task.
*This is an Editorial by Global Times