Tell China’s Story Well (exhibition)
Date of Action: 2023
Location: Warsaw, Poland
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Confronting Bodies: Chinese Communist Party
Description of Artwork: Artnet writes: "[Badiucao's] exhibition [...] draws its title from President Xi Jinping’s proposition for external propaganda when he first came to power in 2013 [and features] about 70 works including many new pieces, ranging from paintings and drawings to sound and neon installations. The politically charged show revolves around the ongoing themes in the artist’s practice, such as the allegations of China’s suppression of free speech and abuse of human rights through the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, the 2019 Hong Kong protests, the Chinese citizens’ revolt against Covid lockdowns, forced cultural assimilation of the Uyghurs, as well as China’s relationship with Russia amid the ongoing war in Ukraine."
The Incident: Badiucao's most recent exhibition in summer 2023 was targeted by the Chinese government from abroad despite the exhibit's location in Warsaw, Poland. When the exhibition was announced, staff from the Chinese Embassy visited the museum and demanded its cancellation. Officials from the Chinese Communist Party and their affiliates continually seek to censor Badiucao's artwork wherever and whenever he attempts to show it publicly. In 2018 an exhibition of Badiucao's work was cancelled in Hong Kong after threats made by the Chinese authorities. In 2022, Beijing tried unsuccessfully to cancel Badiucao’s exhibition at DOX Center for Contemporary Art in Prague.
Results of Incident: Badiucao's 2018 exhibition in Hong Kong was cancelled. His 2022 Prague exhibition and 2023 Warsaw show proceeded as planned, however. The artist has noted that the Chinese government’s actions have backfired, attracting more attention to his artwork via the Streisand effect, as long as the museums involved do not succumb to Chinese Communist Party pressure. However, Badiucao also notes that Beijing’s consistent censorship attempts mean that any gallery, museum, or institution hosting him will experience “bullying and intimidation” from a major geopolitical power.