A new Tiananmen? Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei fears in an interview with AFP that there is "no other way out" of the Hong Kong crisis than a violent crackdown on protests by Beijing, because in his eyes the regime communist "can not do otherwise".
"No prediction is exaggerated," he says in reference to this scenario increasingly evoked a repression similar to that of the Chinese army on the famous Beijing Square in June 1989.
Exactly 30 years after "tanks crushed the most peaceful demonstrations, students sitting, while the whole world had their eyes fixed" on the Beijing square, the story may well be repeated, according to the artist became l one of the most famous opponents of the Chinese regime.
"There are no other issues, they do not know how to negotiate or debate, it's the nature of this authoritarian regime, they do not know how to do it, they only have the police and the army." , assures from his studio in Berlin Ai Weiwei.
Beijing has lurked in recent days the threat of military intervention to restore order in the retroceded enclave in 1997, which has since enjoyed a certain degree of autonomy.
- "Violence" -
"Violence is not only physical, it is mental, when the protesters are denied the right to any discussion.This kind of violence is horrible," says the former star artist of China, fallen out of favor at the beginning of 2010 for his criticism of the regime.
In 2011, he spent 81 days in detention after being arrested at Beijing Airport. He was getting ready to fly to Hong Kong. His studio in the suburbs of Shanghai had been demolished in January of the same year.
Deprived of a passport for four years, he had gone to Berlin after retrieving the document in 2015.
"I share their frustration, I feel among them and I feel them part of me," poetizes the artist in exile about Hong Kong protesters.
His studio is housed in a former Berlin brewery. A small army of students and young artists - many of them Chinese - concoct his future punch projects, which often flirt with provocation and form, preferably with gigantism.
Fingers of honor in public places, gigantic mounts around the objects of the refugee crisis, Ai Weiwei is a master of communication and "blows", to the point of sometimes irritating the world of contemporary art.
The iconoclastic artist, who lived in the United States, claims to invest the media and social networks, as an artistic practice in its own right.
- Hong Kong: "the best of China" -
From the beginning of the demonstrations, in June, he put three of his staff on a plane to Hong Kong, and cameras in their suitcases.
Ai Weiwei initially wanted to "understand the leaders and their motivations" of this happy and peaceful movement. Today he says he wants to understand why some protesters are coming "to want to throw themselves out the window" in the name of this struggle for freedom.
"The best of China, this generation educated and committed to defending democracy is being sacrificed by an obscurantist society and the other countries are doing as if nothing is wrong," condemned Mr. Ai.
A reproach also expressed by the famous pro-democracy militant of Hong Kong, Joshua Wong, in the daily newspaper Bild of Friday. "I do not understand that Germany, as a member of the free world, can cooperate in this way with China", he gets carried away.
How does Ai Weiwei intend to continue to support, for thousands of kilometers away, this movement that he lives by proxy, screwed to his phone and instant messaging? "It's the sadness that invades me," he admits helplessly.
The 61-year-old also confirms to AFP that he wants to leave Germany, "for multiple political reasons" without saying where he intends to settle.
© 2019 AFP