World-renowned artist and activist Ai WeiWei is accusing U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron of sacrificing Britain’s “essential values” by agreeing to trade deals with China worth millions of pounds, despite the communist country’s deplorable human rights record.
During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s four-day visit to the U.K., Cameron agreed to business deals amounting to 30 billion pounds, including a Chinese investment in a nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
“I think the British Prime Minister has had a record on putting human rights aside which is very bad strategy and also is a very bad aesthetics, because this certainly doesn’t represent the British people,” Ai told Sky News.
The artist, who previously has been detained by the Chinese government, says Chinese society is “changing dramatically” as a democratic movements rise, but stresses such a transformation can only result from a joint effort.
When the Independent asked what he would say to Mr Xi if they met, he replied “First, I would wish him a good trip.
“I think yes China does need to develop and we do need to have very stable conditions for any kind of development, but this kind of development only can come from respecting the truth, respecting the history, and having strong values…those values can make China have a better future.”
During a press conference in the U.K., Xi addressed the question of human rights saying, “China attaches great importance to human rights … China is ready to increase co-operation with the UK and other countries over human rights.”
Nonetheless, Xi’s presidency has seen the imprisonment of more than 250,000 human rights activists in what Amnesty International calls “the biggest crackdown on human rights in a generation.”