News / Asia

China Baffled by Support for Imprisoned Activist Ai Weiwei

Pro-democracy protesters carry portraits of detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei urging for his release in Hong Kong, April 10, 2011.
Pro-democracy protesters carry portraits of detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei urging for his release in Hong Kong, April 10, 2011.

The Chinese government says it is unhappy with international support for detained artist and activist Ai Weiwei.

The latest rebuke of international criticism about China's crackdown on dissidents comes on the same day European Commission Vice President Catherine Ashton called on Beijing to release all those Chinese detained for exercising what she says is their universally recognized right to freedom of expression.  

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei says Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is a suspected criminal and foreign support for him has confused and angered the Chinese people.

Hong said the Chinese people are baffled by the outcry from Washington and other Western governments after Ai's arrest nine days ago. And he questioned why some people in some countries treat a crime suspect as a hero, adding that the Chinese people are unhappy about international support for the outspoken government critic.

Hours after Hong's rebuke, Ashton, the high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, made a plea to the Chinese government to release Ai and other dissidents recently detained.

Ashton said she is deeply concerned at the deterioration in the human rights situation in China and restrictions placed on foreign journalists. She also said  arbitrary arrests and disappearances must cease, and the Chinese people should be treated under international human rights standards and the rule of law.

Ai is among scores of suspected activists detained by the government during an ongoing crackdown launched after anonymous calls for protests similar to those witnessed in the Arab world in the last few months.  

He helped design the showcase 2008 Beijing Olympic Bird's Nest Stadium and his father is a celebrated revolutionary poet.  But this has not prevented him quickly going from national ambassador and icon to suspected villain.  The 53-year-old was detained nine days ago as he tried to leave the country for an exhibition.  He has been charged with unspecified economic crimes.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong says Ai's former influence is irrelevant, now he is a suspect criminal.  He says Ai will be punished according to the law.  

Ai is a diabetic and has other health concerns. The authorities refuse to say how he is or where he is being held.

Tuesday, Hong also dismissed the U.S. report on humans rights, which heavily criticized China.

He says the United States should address its own human rights record and is urging other countries not to interfere in China's internal affairs.

China watchers claim Chinese leaders believe some of the country's dissenting citizens, like Ai and imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner Lui Xiaobo, are backed by Western governments keen to topple the Communist Party.

Recent speeches and articles from senior security officials echo with warnings of subversive plots, backed by what they see as Western, anti-China forces.  

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid