China Beat Archive


Date of this Version


Document Type



2011 Nov 30 in The China Beat


Copyright 2011 Thomas Glucksmann-Smith.


On October 15-18th 2011 during the latest Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee, China’s leaders discussed ways to make China a ‘culturally strong nation’ (文化强国) and defined strategies to enhance China’s international soft power. This meeting coincided with tax evasion charges laid against China’s world renowned artist Ai Weiwei—charges he now plans to challenge.

Ai Weiwei, recently described by Art Review as the ‘world’s most powerful artist’ would, in any other nation, be regarded as a perfect diplomat for his country’s cultural industries. But, for China’s CCP leaders Mr Ai’s political activism and provocative behaviour has gone too far. Despite being responsible for the design of the Beijing Olympic Bird’s Nest stadium he is now subject to surveillance and travel restrictions.