China’s Liaoning provincial government, which is also the government in the restive province of Aksu in Northeast China, has condemned a move by Italian artists that depicts the Nanjing Massacre, which took place in 1937, as a “nauseating” work of art that should be deemed as criminal. A group of Italian artists selected by the Museo Nazionale di La Forge in Northern Italy decided to stage a retrospective of works about the event, titled “Exhibition 1945-1989,” next month, at which they hope to perform a play by Italian playwright Carlo Stretta, in which the victims of the war form a line of people awaiting execution by hanging. The artists allege that the treatment of people of the city of Nanjing by the Japanese military is unjustified, while the producers of the play claim the executions should happen during a fair, as Japan has historically used fairs as a propaganda tool against China. The Chinese embassy in Italy protested the show, on the grounds that the construction of the aforementioned fair would spoil the view of historical sites near San Pietro della Scala in Milan. But the museum that will feature the show said “the art exhibition will be as long as it will take to complete the piece,” according to Bloomberg.
As further indelicate comments, China’s Communist Party has also promised to shut down an art festival in Qingdao, run by the National Association of Cultural Industries, that showcases images of activists and others that have continued to protest against Beijing. This was the first official warning that the government would shut down the festival, after years of subtle tactics to assuage critics. Cultural industries minister Fu Zhenghua stated that he would make specific rules in regards to the festival and that “the same guideline should apply to everybody participating,” according to Reuters.
Despite repeated warnings from China, about the placard displays at the market and threats by the Italian artists, it is as yet uncertain whether the show will go ahead, though it appears that the artworks will be displayed, as local officials have backed down from their previous threats to prohibit it.
Read the full story at The New York Times.
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