You can stage a mock beheading of Margaret Thatcher on International Women’s Day, but whatever you do – don’t upset the Communist Party of China with Batman memes.
Communist dictators have the emotional capacity of toddlers. Their grip on political power demands absolute, unquestioned subservience. Anything that opens a regime up to ridicule is not funny – it’s dangerous. The more frightened a leader is of mockery, the more fragile their regime.
In completely unrelated news, this week China threw a tantrum over an unoriginal, lightweight twenty-five-piece art collection hanging in the Ambush Gallery at the Australian National University.
The regime was particularly displeased by the artist, Luke Cornish, replacing the face of Mao Zedong on a banknote with an image of Batman and then again with Winnie the Pooh. Had this been done to a Western leader they – uh – they wouldn’t even know about it, to be honest. That’s how far down the activist ‘offence’ scale this sort of thing is. The work is neither brave nor cutting. At best, it is playfully lurking a decade behind internet meme culture.
Winnie the Pooh was erased from China after images emerged in 2013 comparing the cartoon character to Xi Jinping and his awkward public appearances. If you want to use your social credit points for food and shelter, you cannot openly criticise Xi Jinping, and so these memes were employed to get around the ‘The Great Firewall of China’. The very existence of this digital barbed wire is an abuse of human rights, where Chinese citizens are prevented from seeing the rest of the world by their paranoid government.
I suspect it was not the image of Batman that upset the Communist Party, but rather the visual suggestion that Xi Jinping is another Chairman Mao. For all their censorial efforts, China has been unable to undo the link between Winnie the Pooh and Xi Jinping, and this latest freak-out is evidence that dissent has permeated Chinese culture.
This suspicion is backed up by the other item removed from the exhibition – a framed butcher’s cleaver painted red with the Uyghur flag laid over a person’s face and a hand across their mouth depicting the Communist Party of China’s flag.
The artist’s intention was to, ‘take the piss’ as he put it, out of China’s regime. Cornish wanted to start a conversation and call out China’s genocide in the northern province of Xinjiang. Instead, hundreds of bullying phone calls demanded the removal of the exhibition due to – wait for it – racism.
China’s new ‘thing’ is to accuse the West of racism every time it attempts to criticise humanitarian violations and breaches of international law. While occupying this ‘perceived weak social identity’ it is free to take swings at the United States, like it did at the recent Alaska conference.
While the Chinese regime did not tie its name to the complaints sent to the gallery, it is obvious that the bombardment of complaints was coordinated by their network of party-loyal citizens on Australian soil who have been involved inconsistent acts of foreign interference and subversion for years. The situation is so bad that pro-Hong Kong democracy students are threatened inside Australian university campuses by Chinese students while others remain too terrified to speak.
For those paying attention, China plays the same game as our local Marxists. They cry victim while using violence and a position of privilege to bully their neighbours. Left-wing governments in the West are confused by this tactic and are tricked into believing ridiculous things like a detention centre for illegal immigrants in Australia is somehow comparable to an ethnic and religious concentration camp of forced labour, sterilisation, and live organ harvesting.
The only reason that the gallery bowed to the obvious foreign censorship of Australian art is because the Australian National University is one of the most idiotic Marxist outfits around. The accusation of ‘racism’ – unfounded as it is – scares them into abandoning what they have previously claimed to be the fundamental freedom of political expression for artists. In other words, they are cowards.
These are the same institutions that believe that using art to attack Western civilisation is a virtue. Passing an Arts Degree these days simply means writing something nasty about a conservative on a canvas and Blue-Tacking it to the wall. Alternatively, you could make a plaster cast of your privates and host an Extinction Rebellion performance piece inside the gallery. Bring vats of fake blood and the local drama troupe after an afternoon smoking Pot.
Cornish’s show was meant to be about the abuse of power. Well, he succeeded in turning it into a performance piece where all of Australia got to watch China abuse their tyrannical grip on the world in real-time.
They should rename it ‘Irony’.