News / Asia

Dissident Artist Draws Inspiration from Milk Fears

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei sits on a chair in the courtyard of his studio, in Beijing, June 20, 2012.
Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei sits on a chair in the courtyard of his studio, in Beijing, June 20, 2012.
Reuters
Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has taken inspiration from fears in China about milk safety for his latest work of art, a huge map of China made out of milk powder tins appearing at an exhibition in Hong Kong which opens on Friday.
 
Ai, whose 81-day detention in 2011 sparked an international outcry, has regularly criticized the government for what he sees as its flouting of the rule of law and the rights of citizens.
 
His new work is a made of more than 1,800 large tins of milk powder from seven popular brands, laid out on a Hong Kong gallery floor in the shape of a huge map of China.
 
Many Chinese have taken to importing tins of foreign milk powder since at least six infants died and 300,000 fell ill in 2008 after they drank milk formula laced with the industrial chemical melamine.
 
“A country like this can put a satellite into space but it can't put a safe bottle teat into a child's mouth. I think it's extremely absurd,” Ai told Reuters this week in his Beijing studio.
 
“This is a most fundamental assurance of food, but people actually have to go to another region to obtain this kind of thing," he said. "I think it's a totally absurd phenomenon.”
 
Bulk buying in Hong Kong earlier this year prompted the government to restrict the amount of milk powder mainland Chinese could take back with them. It followed complaints of shortages and rocketing prices.
 
Some Chinese have resorted to smuggling in milk powder from Hong Kong to skirt the restrictions.
 
“I have heard of drug trafficking before, but when a country has milk powder smuggling instead of drug smuggling, I think this is a devastating sign,” Ai said.
 
Beijing has tried to reassure people that milk powder and dairy products in China are now safe and rigorously tested. Lax regulatory enforcement, however, remains a problem.
 
The milk powder issue has added to unease in the former British colony over a flood of visitors from mainland China that was overwhelming the tiny territory.
 
Last year, more than 30 million mainland Chinese visited Hong Kong, almost four times the city's population, stoking concern about the ability of the city's infrastructure to cope.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid