Critics call on George Washington University President to explain why he feels ‘personally offended by this art’
The newly elected president of George Washington University stated that he was personally offended by the art on campus condemning China’s human rights violations.
“Please be aware that I find the posters offensive. “I treasure the chance to work with talented individuals from all over the globe, including China,” George Washington University President Mark Wrighton wrote via email.
“I am also saddened by this horrible event, and we will make an effort to find the culprit.”
Badiucao, the artist behind these posters, posted a screenshot of the email to Twitter. He is a Chinese-born political cartoonist, who often uses his work as a platform to critique the Chinese Communist Party.
The art targeted Uyghur genocide and oppression in Tibet, Hong Kong and coronavirus as well as China’s surveillance and monitoring of its citizens.
One poster features the words Beijing 2022. It is surrounded by images of Chinese athletes. This includes a snowboarder on a security camera, another competing in curling with an image from the coronavirus molecular, an athlete using a shotgun to target the Uyghur flag and an athlete skating through blood that appears to depict Hong Kong’s flag.
According to Badiucao, the posters were created as a “full-scale campaign to boycott Beijing Olympics.”
Badiucao said Monday that as an artist, “it’s my responsibility to use art to spark conversation on important issues our time.” He also stated this in direct messages to Fox News Digital on Twitter. “As a China-born [person], I have a duty to support my Chinese people against the oppression of the CCP.”
“Silence is complicity.” He said, “I must speak up.”
Badiucao claimed he couldn’t reveal who sent Wrighton the email screenshot, but pointed to a WeChat group for the George Washington Chinese Cultural Association. This group also stated that “the university’s president had said that the posters were personally offensive.”
According to the WeChat group, the posters appeared first on campus on Thursday. All of them have been removed. They were also posted without school permission.
“Some Chinese students saw these posters and engaged in heated conversations on social media platforms,” reads a WeChat message. It also states that some students were outraged and contacted the school’s police department to inquire.
Wrighton was elected president of George Washington University after serving as interim president in 2021.
Monday’s statement by the school’s president stated that he had “responded hastily to concerns about the art” and that his responses were “mistakes.” He stated that no investigation is underway into the art and that he supports freedom of speech.
“At that point, and without any context about the origin or purpose of the posters, my response was hastily to the student. I wrote that I too was concerned. The posters were also removed by university staff. These responses were erroneous. Wrighton sent Fox News his statement, stating that every member of the GW community should feel welcomed and supported.
“I learned later from university scholars that the posters were created by Badiucao, a Chinese-Australian artist. They are a criticism of China’s policies. These posters are not racist to me, they are political statements.
“Mr Wrighton does not think he is ignorant. Badiucao said that Wrighton is certainly not innocent of this story. “Perhaps his intimate relationship with RMB and CCP has covered his love for students and human rights.”
On social media, critics of Wrighton’s comments are voicing their disapproval, including the China director for Human Rights Watch who asked Wrighton why he “supports suppression of #academicfreeom.”
China has been long criticized for its human-rights record. The Olympics, which began in Beijing last week will shine a new spotlight on China’s abuses.
They plan to show the world that the Beijing Olympics is their new superpower. And if all goes well, they will take Taiwan. It’s over when they take Taiwan,” ex-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said. Ambassador Nikki Haley spoke recently on “The Glenn Beck Program.”
Top Republicans in Congress also instructed the U.S. Olympic Committee and Paralympic Committee, among other things, to ensure that U.S. athletes are safe during the games and to warn them about China’s human rights violations. The FBI advised U.S. athletes that they should leave their cellphones at home and not use social media while abroad.