While Anglophone readers should be glad to see Chinese artist/dissident Ai Weiwei getting extended treatment in the New York Times, the article adds virtually nothing to the spate of interviews given by, and articles about, Ai in the last six months in the European press.
However, there is one new tidbit of information right at the end: rumors that the CCP is investigating Ai’s finances. Even the PRC Foreign Ministry had to handle this one:
Q: Mr. Huang Qi was sentenced to three years in prison in Chengdu. Though I know this is not something about foreign affairs, could you give some comment? Another question related to that, Mr. Ai Weiwei is internationally famous, and I read some reports that the Chinese Government is keen on his financial situation. How do you comment?
A: As to the individual cases, China’s judicial authorities will handle them according to law.
Or, if you prefer:
Oh goodness me….it appears that the PRC Foreign Ministry has been less than forthcoming with their translations. The question was actually “I have heard reports that the Chinese Government is currently investigating his financial situation” rather than the more innocuous “is keen on.” I’m keen on you, Qin Gang, keen indeed!
Yet, owing to various oddities, the German press doesn’t seem to be paying much heed to Ai Weiwei today or the Huang Qi case. Perhaps it is the chaotic trial of that Akron, Ohio SS fugitive currently galvanizing Berlin?
Or that German audiences are currently more interested in a certain Turkish avant-garde artist who has something to say about gender?
Instead of stern moralism, Ai has been publishing puff pieces in Munich about his chef, about how “cooking is like calligraphy…cooking is like sleeping; one doesn’t need to learn how.”
But, according to this very popular Le Figaro article about alcohol in Chinese life, one does need to learn to drink to be successful in the PRC.
Fortunately trance music is taking over both Russia and China , while Obama’s top advisor says Paris is seen as too “socialist” on the same day that the Pompidou Center workers all go on strike.
Fortunately the left-wing paper Liberation has a beautiful photo blog where its readers can submit photos of Tokyo: