Chinese political slogans in London’s Graffiti area sparks row

In an interview with VOA Cantonese, Australia-based Chinese political cartoonist Badiucao called the graffiti “a crude piece of work.”…reports Asian Lite News

London’s Brick Lane, famed for its street art, appears to be the scene of the latest face-off between pro-democracy supporters and Chinese loyal to President Xi Jinping’s rule, Voice of America (VOA) reported.

Early on Saturday, people whitewashed a section of the street art wall, then spray painted a set of 12 two-character words in Chinese. The words included “Democracy, Civility, Freedom, Equality, Justice and The Rule of Law.

Over the weekend, big red Chinese characters painted on a white background, extolled “core socialist values,” sentiments first expressed by Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao, and embraced by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), VOA reported.

Most of the slogans have since been covered by anti-CCP sentiments, and a Chinese student who led the sloganeers claimed to have received death threats.

As the slogans attracted negative comments online, people went to Brick Lane to paint comments critical of Beijing such as ‘Free Uighurs’ and ‘Free Tibet’. There were references to the bloody Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989, VOA reported.

The whitewashed area of slogans covered a tribute to a popular street artist, Marty, painted by his fellow artist and friend, Benzi Brofman.

On Instagram, Brofman said painting over works like his was part of the street art culture.

Brofman told VOA Cantonese on Sunday that he was focused on creating new artwork and that Monday was also his birthday; thus, he would “prefer not to waste my time and energy on this issue.”

“My mind is set on my future art projects that will, hopefully, bring joy and comfort to people,” he said.

In an interview with VOA Cantonese, Australia-based Chinese political cartoonist Badiucao called the graffiti “a crude piece of work.”

Regardless of whether the sloganeer was trying to be patriotic or satirical, said Badiucao, the real cost was not borne by them, but by the local street artists who have put in weeks or even months of effort for their work, VOA reported.

“Some may ask, isn’t graffiti about free expression? Aren’t all artworks eventually covered by new ones? Yes, indeed, street art is like a carousel, but street artists don’t cover other artworks randomly,” he said.

“Often, we choose to cover old works or ones that have been tagged as heavily damaged. For new works, especially those with commemorative significance, artists tend to choose to show respect,” he added.

“Perhaps in the eyes of many, this act has caused a thousand waves and is, therefore, a success,” said Badiucao.

Wang Hanzheng, a Royal College of Art student who signs his art with the name Yi Que, made the pro-Chinese graffiti, VOA reported.

Giving almost everyone what they wanted, Yi Que gained massive fame through the spectacle, ‘little pinks’ patriots got the pride of their slogans being seen in the heart of London, and dissenters got evidence exposing the Chinese Communist Party’s threat to freedom of speech, the report stated.

“However, after the carnival of chaos, it’s the local artists who are forced to pay the price. They have involuntarily borne the cost of this publicity stunt,” Badiucao said. (ANI)

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