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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid