(The Post Millennial) – George Washington University President Mark Wrighton has taken a stand on atrocities committed by the Chinese Communist Party, which is that speaking about them is offensive. When posters went up at GW contrasting the Beijing Olympics with China’s well-documented human rights abuses, Wrighton called for the posters to be removed.
“Please know that I am personally offended by the posters,” Wrighton wrote as the head of an American university. “I treasure the opportunity to work with talented people from all over the world, including China.”
Wrighton addressed the person who reached out to him to complain about the creative posters. “Your reaching out to be directly is much appreciated, and we are working to have all of these offensive posters removed as soon as possible.”
The posters showed a Tibetan monk being bludgeoned by an ice-hockey player, a curler playing with a coronavirus molecule instead of a curling stone, a biathlete executing a bound a blindfolded Uyghur man, a figure skater skating through a bloodied red orchid, the symbol of Hong Kong, and a snowboarder performing tricks while riding a CCTV camera.
The artwork was made by Badiucao, who has been called the “Chinese Banksy.” Badiucao works under a pseudonym and is based in Australia, reports The Times. The CCP is not a fan of Badiucao, and neither is Wrighton.
Badiucao responded to Wrighton, “In response to CSSA, GeorgeWashington Uni @GWtweets president @PresWrightonGW claims he is ‘personally offended’ by my art criticising China’s rights abuse like Uyghur genocide & oppression in Tibet & HongKong.”
Badiucao went on to demand an answer as to why Wrighton would be running cover for the CCP. “I demand him an explanation why exposing CCP’s abuse offends him,” he wrote.
1. In response to CSSA, GeorgeWashington Uni @GWtweets president @PresWrightonGW claims he is “personally offended” by my art criticising China’s rights abuse like Uyghur genocide & oppression in Tibet & HongKong.
I demand him an explanation why exposing CCP’s abuse offends him. pic.twitter.com/Bm5k2nFAJ4
— 巴丢草 Badiucao (@badiucao) February 7, 2022
Senator Marco Rubio took issue with Wrighton, and anyone who seeks to ban criticism of the Chinese Communist Party’s human rights abuses, saying “Many American universities are enthusiastic agents for #China’s censorship efforts in America For example GW University just ordered posters criticizing China’s human rights record removed & the schools President said he was ‘personally offended’ by them.”
Many American universities are enthusiastic agents for #China’s censorship efforts in America
For example GW University just ordered posters criticizing China’s human rights record removed & the schools President said he was ‘personally offended’ by them https://t.co/TGlDA1GlSG
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 7, 2022
The CCP has taken great effort to suppress Badiucao’s work, just like the head of George Washington University. The Times reports that a Badiucao exhibit in Hong Kong in 2018 was cancelled under duress from CCP officials, and that the CCP tried to get the mayor of the Italian city of Brescia to cancel an exhibit there.
Officials in Brisbane, Australia, complied with the CCP and three months ago banned the Badiucao’s art work criticizing the Beijing Olympics, “supposedly because of concerns about a possible Chinese cyberattack.
The work will be shown in an exhibit in the Czech capital Prague. It’s being organized by Haruna Honcoop, a Czech-Japanese filmmaker.
“I would like Badiucao’s posters to remind people in the streets of what is going on in the People’s Republic of China,” Honcoop said. “They should make people think about what is happening in China before they tune into the Olympics on television, and therefore indirectly support the Chinese regime.”
For his part, Wrighton vowed action against whoever had posted Badiucao’s work on the GW campus. “I, too, am saddened by this terrible event,” he wrote, “and we will undertake an effort to determine who is responsible.”
Wrighton, along with the CCP, wants to curb criticism of the oppressive regime. In Wrighton’s case, he appears to believe that Chinese people would be offended at large by the art work created by their dissident countryman.
Wrighton was elected president of GW on January 1, 2022, and served as Chancellor before that. The school says that his work as Chancellor included “unprecedented progress” in enhancing the school’s “international reputation.”
His research is “in the areas of transition metal catalysis, photochemistry, surface chemistry, molecular electronics, and in photoprocesses at electrodes,” not art, art history, or human rights.
After the backlash against his comments backing the CCP and opposing art critical of the Chinese regime, Wrighton issued a fresh statement saying that his previous statement was in error. Wrighton claimed that it was “without more context on the origin or intent of the posters” that he “responded hastily” to the student who had complained about the Badiucao’s art.
Wrighton said that he has “since learned from our university’s scholars that the posters ere designed by a Chinese-Australian artist, Badiucao, and they are a critique of China’s policies. Upon full understanding, I do not view these posters as racist; they are political statements. There is no university investigation underway, and the university will not take any action against the students who displayed the posters.”
“I support freedom of speech—even when it offends people—and creative art is a valued way to communicate on important societal issues,” claimed the newly informed university president.