Western governments should challenge China on human rights and stand up for their principles, dissident artist Ai Weiwei has said – lamenting the repression faced by Chinese activists but declaring that Beijing’s “business partners” in the rest of the world should not fear making it worse.
One of the world’s most famous living artists, Ai has long run foul of Chinese authorities, culminating in 81 days of detention in 2011 amid a wider crackdown on political dissent. He was subsequently banned from travelling overseas for more than four years and his passport was confiscated.
“It doesn’t matter it will hurt me or not, you have to do what you think is right,” Ai said during an event at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. “You have to believe they have to listen. You know, they have to care about their business partner … or they have to respect.”