When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

It’s About Time China Learned Critical Dialogue

Op-Ed: If China indeed wants to be a protagonist on the world stage, it can no longer ignore human rights issues. A good place to start would be the case of artist Ai Weiwei, whose recent release from jail had everything to do with Chinese Premier Wen Jia

An April 17 protest in New York City againt China's decision to detain Ai Weiwei
An April 17 protest in New York City againt China's decision to detain Ai Weiwei
Thomas Schmid

It's 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 Weiwei's release is so clear, and so embarrassingly stereotypical, that one hardly dares mention it: it is so that Premier Wen Jiabao's 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; it's 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 it's 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, it's 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 successful—it 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: "I'm 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

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

eyes on the U.S.

Murdoch's Resignation Adds To Biden Good Luck With The Media — A Repeat Of FDR?

Robert Murdoch's resignation from Fox News Corp. so soon before the next U.S. presidential elections begs the question of how directly media coverage has impacted Joe Biden as a figure, and what this new shift in power will mean for the current President.

Close up photograph of a opy of The Independent features Rupert Murdoch striking a pensive countenance as his 'News of the World' tabloid newspaper announced its last edition will run

July 7, 2011 - London, England: A copy of The Independent features Rupert Murdoch striking a pensive countenance as his 'News of the World' tabloid newspaper announced its last edition will run July 11, 2011 amid a torrid scandal involving phone hacking.

Mark Makela/ZUMA
Michael J. Socolow

Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States of America on Jan. 20, 2021.

Imagine if someone could go back in time and inform him and his communications team that a few pivotal changes in the media would occur during his first three years in office.

There’s the latest news that Rubert Murdoch, 92, stepped down as the chairperson of Fox Corp. and News Corp. on Sept. 21, 2023. Since the 1980s, Murdoch, who will be replaced by his son Lachlan, has been the most powerful right-wing media executivein the U.S.

While it’s not clear whether Fox will be any tamer under Lachlan, Murdoch’s departure is likely good news for Biden, who reportedly despises the media baron.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest