Update: Global Times and Ai Weiwei

Five full days after my post on Ai Weiwei and the Global Times was published, I received an email from someone relatively high up at the paper telling me that my description of the meeting with Mr. Hu and the staff as depicted in the post was categorically untrue. I’m putting this post up because I want the newspaper’s response to be on the record.

I can say definitively that the lower portion of the post, in which I describe my conversation with a GT editor, is true because I was there having the conversation. I cannot say definitively that the episode involving Mr. Hu is true, as I wasn’t there, obviously. But I can say that I heard about it from sources I trust like brothers/sisters. I was told that throughout the day, after the meeting, the office was buzzing about Mr. Hu’s announcement.

That said, it is still hearsay. A former journalist, I used trusted sources and thought long and hard about putting up the post to begin with. I wasn’t there. Maybe the meeting was perceived differently by different attendees. Maybe the story I heard was exaggerated, or maybe it was totally accurate. I definitely believe that the story, or at least the gist of it, is true, but I also have to offer the other side of the story.

In spite of my frustrations with the direction the Global Times has taken, underscored by the recent Ai Weiwei editorials, I still have great respect for many who work there, and good memories of our working together. The higher-level person who contacted me and insisted the story is false is one of those people I deeply respect.

So there’s both sides. I wanted to put it all on the table and let readers know how the paper responded.

As I said, it was five full days before the paper contacted me. The entry was translated into Chinese the very day it posted and got a fair amount of distribution. If it were categorically false I wish they had contacted me on day one, when they first read it.

Apologies for a long and possibly ambiguous post. I hope it’s clear why I felt I had to write it.

______________

Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 60 Comments

@SKC – I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that freedom of speech, and a functioning democracy, requires freedom of information. If a government hides an abuse of human rights, then someone who helps uncover the government’s actions does act in defence of human rights.

Where I differ with yourfriend – well, he present a false version of Liu’s views, and conflates his views on the Iraq war with his advocacy of human rights in China, and continues to propagate the idiotic smear that Liu supports colonialism.

May 3, 2011 @ 5:49 pm | Comment

“It’s called the Nobel PEACE prize. It’s for PEACE.”
—indeed. Hey, did you notice that they gave him the prize for the Charter, and not for his views on the Iraq war? Or would that require powers of observation that exceed your payscale? Listen, his views on Iraq were what they were. But for you to even try to conflate that with his Nobel is weak stuff. It’s the same old character assassination stuff which seems to be all that you CCP apologists are capable of.

“Right, they were thinking of giving Stalin one too.”
—wow, fascinating tidbit of information. Hey, remind me again….did they end up giving him one? Cuz I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t just be throwing a useless and invalid comparison out there, now would you? And while you’re at it with the Stalin stuff, did they give Mao one?

===================

To FOARP:
I agree that “democracy” requires, among other things, freedom of speech and freedom of information. The latter is what Manning provided. The access to that information may allow someone else to uncover human rights abuses, and maybe even to do something about it. Manning, thus far, has not been that “someone else”.

May 4, 2011 @ 12:59 am | Comment

@FOARP
China, and continues to propagate the idiotic smear that Liu supports colonialism.

Since I’m actually Chinese I can understand the typical self-critical hyperbole about how the West should colonize China for 300 years blablablablablabla.

But when he supported the Iraq War it showed how much of a naive, starry-eyed warmonger he is. The fact that such an impotent and myopic world view earns a man a “peace” prize when he is more an advocate of religious and cultural war is a testament to the convoluted political whoredom of many an ivory tower Westerner who feel they should be able to dictate policy to sovereign states.

May 4, 2011 @ 2:40 am | Comment

SK Cheung
Hey, did you notice that they gave him the prize for the Charter, and not for his views on the Iraq war?

Hey, did you notice that doing a little good is, on balance, canceled out by doing a lot of bad? And a lot of warmongering sets a little peace back quite a bit? Did you notice also that the MAN won the prize, and not any other signer of the charter, nor the charter itself?

Or is this too much work for someone on the payroll of a Western government?

May 4, 2011 @ 2:43 am | Comment

Ummm…he agreed with the Iraq war. In what space-time continuum does that constitute “doing a lot of bad”, pray tell? And once again, the Nobel was in recognition of the charter. It was not a referendum of his entire life. And at the end of the day, the decision is at the discretion of the Nobel committee. If you don’t like it, make your own award that is coveted the world over, instead of the incessant whining and sour grapes. That must reach the threshold of being unbecoming, even for a ccp apologist. Note also that the ccp tried their own award, except the “winner” didn’t bother to collect it. So happy trails with that one.

I did notice that the MAN won the award, rather than the charter. Maybe you can point out the last time a Nobel was awarded to a thing, rather than to a person. I imagine you must have an incredibly compelling reason for bringing up such a brilliant observation. Fantastic stuff. I can’t wait.

And indeed, only the author of the charter got recognized, and not the signatories. I guess you will just have to ask yourself, logically speaking, whether it makes more sense to award only the person who created the work, or all the folks who signed on after the fact. The logical answer seems pretty clear to me, but I am certainly no expert in your form of “logic”.

Once again, you’ve brought up some incredibly useful points. Can’t wait to hear what you have to say next. The ccp must be so proud.

May 4, 2011 @ 6:58 am | Comment

And once again, the Nobel was in recognition of the charter.

I guess Hitler should be given a prize for building some snazzy infrastructure too, then. And no, the Peace Prize is considered a joke and is not coveted at all by anyone but four year olds of all ages. Now Nobels for Physics, Biology, and Chemistry, those are worth bragging about.

Your long-winded, whiny post just proves that the peace prize is a farce used by brainless political zombies who are completely oblivious as to how to achieve peace. How long have these ivory tower Westerners been handing it out, and how much more “peaceful” is the world as a result?

May 4, 2011 @ 7:34 am | Comment

Nice theory about hitler. Minor problem though…he didn’t win one. So it is illogical to try to compare him (or your earlier lame attempt with Stalin) to liu. Why is it that you ccp apologist types have such a poor grasp of logic, and such a profound inability to compare things that are actually comparable? They really need to revise their training regimen.

Considering that the Nobel is apparently so inconsequential, you guys sure spend a lot of time whining about it. To each his own, as I always say.

I do write more than you. It seems to take more effort in trying to draw out the intestines for folks like you. It might also relate to how you seem to have so few answers to direct questions. But hey, you do what you gotta do.

May 4, 2011 @ 8:42 am | Comment

ZZZZZZZ

Summary of all of your posts: YOU WORK FOR THE CCP, YOU ARE A FENQING, THE CCP PAYS YOU 50 CENTS, YOU ALSO WORK FOR THE CCP, THE WEST IS GREAT, YOU WORK FOR THE CCP, I THINK I’M SMART, YOU ARE WHINING EVEN THOUGH IT’S ACTUALLY ME WHINING

Hopefully Liu will appreciate the irony while he sits in jail.

May 4, 2011 @ 8:56 am | Comment

“YOU WORK FOR THE CCP” — possibly. Can’t say for sure.

“YOU ARE A FENQING” — I mean, seriously, is there any doubt?

“THE CCP PAYS YOU 50 CENTS” — I dunno. Do they? More importantly, if they do, are they really getting their money’s worth with you?

“THE WEST IS GREAT” — actually, it’s alright, but certainly has its flaws. However, I much prefer it as opposed to the CCP system, which is why I live here. How about you?

Quite enjoyed the caps, if for no other reason that it’s something different from you, so well done. I don’t know if I’m smart, but I certainly have a grasp of logic, and can easily identify those who don’t. I can also easily identify those who have no answers to any questions…here’s looking at you, pal.

It is unfortunate that Liu sits in jail. But as ecodelta alluded to, in Mao’s own words, the CCP has an issue with mental weakness. And with human rights.

May 4, 2011 @ 11:21 am | Comment

It looks like the CCP finally got their story together, and Ai is being held for “tax evasion”. Only problem is that he’s not being accused of personally evading taxes. The tax evasion was committed by the Beijing Fake Cultural Development Company. Xinhua says this company is “controlled” by Ai. But his wife says that Ai is not the director, CEO, nor legal representative of this company.

So questions remain. Did the company even commit a crime? After all, we are dealing with the CCP here. And even if it did, is Ai the person who should bear the ultimate legal responsibility? Well, I suppose he should, cuz the CCP views him as a pain in their side, and the Chinese legal system is perfectly suited to rid the CCP of those pains.

May 23, 2011 @ 4:41 pm | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.