Its always good when someone who has been unjustly detained, such as Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, is released. Chinese authorities held him in an unknown place for nearly three months, at first silently and with no reasons given, then on the flimsy pretext that he was suspected of financial crimes.
But if Weiwei is now out on bail (and forbidden to leave Beijing for a year), it is not because the Chinese leadership has suddenly developed some insight or is signaling the way to a more lenient approach. In fact, the motive for Weiweis release is so clear, and so embarrassingly stereotypical, that one hardly dares mention it: it is so that Premier Wen Jiabaos forthcoming visit to Hungary, the UK and Germany will not be cluttered up by questions and concerns about one lone and cumbersome individual. In its transparency, the move is more than merely basic; its primitive.
There are a number of reasons why the German government should make the Weiwei case a discussion point when Wen visits Germany. The first is that the Chinese have a very elastic approach to their own laws even as they appear to hold them in very high regard. They should be invited in no uncertain terms to look at the contradictions inherent in that stance.
Secondly, the case should be addressed because its far from the only one example of repression in China, where people who offend the regime are taken out of circulation and refused the normalcy of getting on with their lives.
Big, proud China, so often and regrettably lacking in self-awareness, is going to have to learn how to deal not only with legal systems but with human rights. Mastering the art of dialogue is essential to anyone who wants to be a major player on the world stage today.
Of course, its going to take some time to get there. China is a country of explosive growth that is having a hard time matching the pace of its social development to that of its economic development. As Ai Weiwei himself once observed: the Chinese society serves the powerful and successfulit has very little empathy for the weak. Having experienced this more than once, he knows whereof he speaks. If he were allowed to speak openly, that is. As he told visitors who came to see him after his release: "Im not allowed to speak."
Every voice, no matter how "weak," counts. Everybody has the right to speak out, to speak openly, to be heard. We need to remind Mr. Wen of that when he comes calling.
Read the original article in German
Photo - edureduration