'Washed away by history'


Chinese artist Ai Weiwei sits in the courtyard of his home in Beijing on November 7, 2010.


Peter Parks

China's conservative mouthpiece, the Global Times newspaper, is predicting an imminent end to critics of the Chinese government like internationally known artist and designer Ai Weiwei.

In an acrid commentary on Wednesday, the newspaper said Ai and his ilk "will be washed away by history." The artist, who was held in secret detention without charge this spring for nearly three months, just this week paid a $1.6 million deposit on his $2.4 million tax bill, slapped on him a few weeks back. Ai denies owing the taxes, but it's clear the charges aren't going away and his case was set to be turned back over to the police if he didn't. The paper mocked Ai's fundraising, an effort that led thousands of Chinese citizens to donate money to his tax bill. Global Times also lambasted others who have criticized China as puppets of the West.

Ai is a symbol of those dissidents that win full support from the West. Chinese people who have interest in politics all know him. But for those who don't know him or cannot remember him, are not interested in his game of political confrontation," wrote commentator Shen Renping.

"The West has supported many dissidents in China. The Western media once regarded Wei Jingsheng, imprisoned in 1978 for 15 years, as 'the father of Chinese democracy," he wrote. "That 'father' is now in some little corner of the US and journalists don't even bother to report on him."