Recently, a group of pro-Beijing politicians and newspapers have accused Hong Kong’s upcoming M+ museum of violating China’s national security law, with a complaint filed to the police last week.
The complaint was centered around one of Ai Weiwei particular photography work that was seen in the soon-to-be-opened museum’s press preview and website – the photograph in question is a 1997 picture that shows Weiwei raising a middle finger in Tiananmen Square. In their complaint, Eunice Young, from the New People’s Party, suggested that the photograph was spreading hatred for Beijing.
After the complaint, the M+ museum has confirmed that they have removed the artist’s picture from the press preview and its website, and that they would not show it at the opening of the museum.
M+ is a museum about visual culture. It will focus on 20th and 21st-century art, design, architecture, and moving images. The museum is currently under construction in the West Kowloon Cultural District of Hong Kong, and its opening is scheduled for the end of 2021.
Hong Kong has always had more freedom than the rest of China due to its past and its certain degree of autonomy from the central government. However, today the power of the Chinese government is more and more present.
Ai Weiwei (艾未未) is a famous Chinese contemporary artist and activist who has always been openly critical of the Chinese Government’s attitude towards democracy and human rights. His 1997 photograph Study Of Perspective: Tiananmen Square can be found in his series Study Of Perspective.
Indeed, Tiananmen Square has an important history as it was the site of a massacre during a student protest on June 4, 1989. While the students were protesting, governmental corruption troops fired at them, with the massacre marking the end of the protest. However, the Chinese Communist Party officials have, for a long time, asserted that no one died in the square itself on this day.
Ai Weiwei has always been active against the Chinese Government. He has been arrested several times during his life. Nowadays he doesn’t even live there anymore but we can see that he has not been forgotten by China.