Ai Weiwei’s ‘authoritarian’ comment on US hypocritically not welcomed by US elites
Published: Nov 17, 2021 11:02 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The virtual Summit for Democracy next month is one of the most important agendas of the White House in the coming weeks. The event will reportedly gather more than 100 countries with the so-called aim to help stop democratic backsliding.

The question is: Is the US qualified to be representative of democracy?

For a long time, US elites want people to believe that the US system repels authoritarianism. But one recent argument drew wide attention. Chinese controversial artist Ai Weiwei said in a Saturday interview with PBS Firing Line that "in the United States, with today's condition, you can easily have an authoritarian. In many ways, you're already in the authoritarian state. You just don't know it." The host, in the video clip, is visibly upset by his words, and the show soon sparked a hot debate. 

It is quite a drama to see a US media elite being challenged, and perhaps even annoyed, by Ai's authoritarian comment. He has been hailed by many Western elites as an outspoken hero who frequently criticizes China. But the host didn't get exactly what she wanted from Ai but saw him go off the script. 

Western elites often goad people like Ai to provoke Chinese system. Ai's work have met with the West's demand to portray China as authoritarian. 

Ai is not welcomed by all, apparently. Some said he is "insane" after watching his authoritarian comment. It appears that Ai didn't get the same recognition from US elites for his critical comment that the US is in the authoritarian state. The US elites often preach that "If you are not free to criticize, then praise is meaningless" in countries it regards as a foe. But when it comes to criticizing its own system, the US elites are hypocritically not so tolerant.

Regardless of the West's smears, China has its own democratic practices, and China's whole-process democracy is not something that the West can wishfully deny and smear by creating some groundless labels. 

But this outdated concept fabricated by the West cannot influence China's democratic practices. Abundant evidence has proven that evaluated by the West's so-called standards, the US is hardly democratic. 

The US has been praising itself as the "beacon of democracy." So will Ai's remarks wake up the US elites? As one netizen said, "One dissatisfied Chinese versus 1.4 billion satisfied Chinese and the Yanks salivating over him? Is this woke?" 

In fact, what is more horrible than whether the US is an authoritarian state is it being hegemony. It overrides the self-made rules while using so-called democracy as a tool to maintain its hegemonic power. With such purpose, the US has made "democracy" into a dogmatic pattern, which it uses to judge other countries and as excuse to launch sanctions. The US moves on such a paradigm have destroyed or subverted real democracy around the world. 

The Summit for Democracy hosted by such a country is no more than a pure hoax, with the real intention being to promote US standards and maintain US hegemony. If Washington doesn't change its hegemonic practices, the halo of democracy it puts on itself is nothing but the Emperor's clothes. 

The US is no longer democratic, but continues using "democracy" to define and sort others. US hegemony has been plaguing the world for decades, and the world will be a better place without it.