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Ai Weiwei on the Power of the Belt and Road

March 20, 2022 (EIRNS)—The Chinese modern artist Ai Weiwei published an article in Britain’s Guardian on March 19 titled, “Ai Weiwei on the New Silk Road: ‘This Is China’s Counterattack in a Global Game of Chess,’ ” accompanied by a set of photographs by Davide Monteleone of Belt and Road Initiative projects in Ethiopia, Cambodia, Kazakhstan and more. Except for the very last sentence, it is a powerful defense of the BRI.

Ai writes of the $11 trillion BRI:

“Such long-term planning, coherent political goals and effective implementation are rare, both in Chinese and in human history. The ruling party in China has laid bare its determination to occupy an important role in the world.... China, with a huge amount of accumulated wealth and managerial and production experience, has understood that it can fill the gaps in parts of the world that are forgotten and abandoned by the West. These regions thirst for a strong economic entity to piece together fragmented, disorganized territories with longstanding historical differences. This is where China comes in.”

Ai claims that the concept derives from Mao Zedong (not surprisingly he does not reference the LaRouche role in introducing it to China in the 1990s). Mao wrote an article in 1970 titled “People of the World, Unite and Defeat the U.S. Aggressors and All Their Lackeys,” in which,

“Mao prompted the developing world to be united and fight against Western political power led by the U.S. He stressed the importance of nationalist revolutions, independence and liberation movements as the wave of unstoppable historical change. Mao quoted the Confucian philosopher Mencius—‘a just cause attracts much support, an unjust one finds little’—to illustrate his belief that people in the world would triumph over Anglo-American imperialism.”

On the differences between China and the West, Ai writes: “The corporatocratic west, primarily measuring political success according to economic profitability, has lost its vision of pursuing mutual benefit and the wellbeing of humankind.”

For some reason he concludes by contradicting himself, calling the BRI a colonial trick: “This, however, is not to say that China is necessarily bringing real benefits to the developing world. The belt and road initiative, launched to benefit China, is tinted with colonialism.” Perhaps he was required to add this as a condition for getting published in the Guardian.

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