News from Berlin
Joachim Gauck Visits Ai Weiwei Exhibition after Merkel’s Recent Visit to China
July 09th, 2014
News from Berlin – The German President Joachim Gauck is to visit the art exhibition ‘Evidence’ by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. The visit is seen as a gesture towards freedom of speech as it occurs briefly after Bundeskanzlerin Merkel’s four day visit to China in which the bilateral relations between Germany and China were strengthened.
Gauck is to visit the exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin on Thursday in a private affair, occurring outside the museum’s usual opening times. The visit is therefore not scheduled in Gauck’s official presidential calendar and can therefore not be seen as an interference surrounding the situation of the artist Ai Weiwei in China.
Ai Weiwei is seen as a criticized of the Chinese government as has in the past been unable to display his work inside the Republic of China and has been denied visas to travel abroad to see his work on display in Berlin. Gauck’s visit at the exhibition is still seen as a symbol of freedom of speech and human rights in China and showing support to Ai Weiwei. According to information from the presidential offices Gauck has not yet seen any exhibition by the Chinese artist, and now wants to get to know Ai Weiwei’s art and about the artist himself. His interest in Ai Weiwei can also be seen as an act of solidarity towards the artist.
At the end of March, the President had reinforced the need for constitutional reforms in China during a meeting with the Chinese State President, Xi Jinping, in Berlin. He also encouraged the Chinese government to find a balance between the interests of those governing and those being governed. Back then Gauck had also invited the director of the Martin-Gropius-Bau Gereon Sievernich to the state banquet where shortly before the opening of the exhibition Evidence in Berlin.
The diplomatic relations between Germany and China are growing stronger and stronger – an important need for two of the strongest economic nations.
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