As the only one country that combines Communist politics and capitalism economy, approximately all topics related to China spontaneously arouse debates. Nowadays media from western countries are particularly interested in the progress of human rights in China, which is also what I want to explore. I prefer to focus on the freedom of speech. Do we Chinese have real freedom of speech and how has it developed compared to the past?
Recently, an artist whose name is Ai Weiwei caught attention and made the front pages of mainstream newspapers. Now it is not because of Ai’s outstanding painting or architectural skills or tour exhibitions around the world or even how much he earned through his artworks’ auction, but because after 81 days’ detention in Beijing, he was released and asked to pay about 2.4 million dollars within fifteen days for tax evasion, otherwise he could not escape the accusation from the Supreme Court and leading to be imprisoned completely.
This huge fee astonished many people and also made people think of some potential political reasons, because firstly, Ai is the person who is always disagreeing with policies and words of the Communist party. Additionally, Ai is the first one in Chinese history to have personal art shows abroad and he is also the Chinese consultant of the 2008 Olympic stadium, so his social statue cannot be easily ignored. In fact, according to what Ai had done before, he is quite a sensitive person to both the politicians and mass media home and abroad. And people like him, who are always wandering the edge of justice and law, are exactly where foreign media interests lies, and the media are prone to conclude these issues as “human rights violations.”
Secondly, the majority of people all have the desire to abandon corruption and equalize human rights among Chinese people and elimination of privileges. It is no exaggeration to say that people like Mr. Ai are rare who are considerable adventurous enough to speak these inner aspiration of all the citizens out. So some of his offensive and incendiary words towards the ruling Communist Party in China would make the officials embarrassed. Combined with reasons above, Ai Weiwei is distinguishable from the “prisoners,” and western media focus on his affaire as an unjust treatment of human rights in China where he does not have the right to freedom of speech.
According to a recent interview from the New York Times with him, Mr. Ai considered, “there was never any talk of unpaid taxes” and “all they wanted to talk about was state subversion” (Andrew Jacobs). These words happened to meet the media’s assumption and implied that what the government concerned is to stop his offensive words towards the Party. Then it made people connect this affaire with human rights that seem to be restricted under the domination of the Party, which is the main purpose of this interview. In terms of the Chinese, media from other countries would like to concentrate on the current situation of human rights in China and query the capability of the Chinese officials. We cannot deny that under the one-party dictatorship, social problems like wealth inequality among all age groups or contempt for human rights and dignity or even skyrocketing material prices are inevitable. However, these problems are not exclusively existing in China but worldwide. Who can get entire freedom in speech and who can achieve complete equality in the community? The answer is no one. It exists in many Chinese memories that the U.S media tends to provoke America or other capitalism countries to doubt the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. The media reporters or government officials partly consider that people in China live under such circumstances that people do not have adequate space for speech freedom. Reports like how media from other countries judge China become popular phenomena, which is also considered as political plots...