This Week at Index: Meet Badiucao, China's artful dissident
10 Oct 2019

Friday 11 October 2019
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Meet Badiucao, China's artful dissident
“Every Hong Kong protester is my biggest inspiration. You think I am brave? Those kids, 16 and 17 years old, are risking their lives at every protest. They are the people who inspire me, they are the people who motivate me to do more work to share their story with you guys” - the words of rebel Chinese cartoonist Badiucao speaking at an Index on Censorship event held at Tate Exchange, London last week.  
Index hosted a private screening of a new documentary, China’s Artful Dissident, which covers the life of Badiucao, an artist who challenges the Chinese government in his work. In 2006, he left China for Australia to escape government persecution. Directed by filmmaker Danny Ben-Moshe, the film charts the road to an exhibition of Badiucao’s work in Hong Kong, scheduled for November 2018. The show was ultimately cancelled following threats to the safety of Badiucao’s family. 
The screening in front of a packed out audience was followed by a Q&A with Badiucao and Ben-Moshe, chaired by British cartoonist Martin Rowson, a regular Index contributor.
Talking about current counter-protests from the Chinese diaspora specifically, Badiucao said: “You have to remember that when we grow up in China, we grow up with an entire machine of propaganda, it will take a very long time for people to walk out of this shadow.”

He expressed concern that people may view the Chinese population, the counter-protesters in particular, as brainwashed, aggressive nationalists who don’t deserve democracy.

“As a consequence, the far right will rise, xenophobia will rise, discrimination will rise, racism against China will rise. Ultimately this solution will not solve the problem, it just pushes the Chinese back to Beijing.”

Badiucao’s career goal, he explained, is to destroy censorship using art. He said: “I’m very proud and honoured that my work is recognised and used by the Hong Kong protesters.” He also said that his art is a way to record history to act as a counterpoint to the Chinese government, who rewrite history.
Buy Badiucao's framed art today and support his work
Columbia hosts first Free Speech for Me event
Index’s Free Speech is for Me programme is now firming up the dates for its US college tour, a collection of events on university campuses highlighting the value of freedom of expression.

On October 21 the tour will be at Columbia University, New York, as part of its free speech week. The event will feature journalist Safa Al-Ahmad in conversation with Agnès Callamard,  a French human rights expert and special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. She is also the director of Columbia's Global
Freedom of Expression project. Al-Ahmad is a Saudi Arabian journalist and filmmaker. She has directed documentaries for PBS and the BBC focusing on uprisings in the Middle East. She is the joint winner of the 2015 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award for Journalism and was a finalist for the 2014 Sony Impact Award.

She will join a panel with Syrian journalist Zaina Erhaim at the University of Pennsylvania on October 22. And Al-Ahmad will be at the University of Delaware, in Newark, to speak at another Index event, in conjunction with American PEN, on October 23.
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Index urges all European countries to ensure inquiry into killing is independent

Index on Censorship is deeply concerned that the murder of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne remains unsolved two years later. The brutal assassination on 16 October 2017 shocked Europe, and drew widespread condemnation. Read the full story here

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Illustration from Neema Komba's short story, Let Them Eat Fruitcake. Credit: Alex Green

And finally...

A good week for Index On Censorship magazine, shortlisted for two awards

Throughout the last five decades, Index On Censorship magazine has had a long record of publishing extraordinary new fiction and plays. Great writers including Ariel Dorfman, Samuel Beckett and Arthur Miller all published work with Index. Just this week the magazine was shortlisted for the best original fiction award at the 2019 Stack Awards.

The shortlisted entry is the winter edition 2018 which includes Neema Komba’s short story, Let Them Eat Fruitcake. Komba is a young flash fiction writer from Tanzania, and her commissioned story covers a tale about a young woman who is not allowed a say about what happens at her wedding. The story is about speaking up when others say you can’t.

And our second shortlisting in less than a week, was for Rachael Jolley, editor-in-chief of Index On Censorship, who has been shortlisted for the specialist editor of the year award 2019 by the British Society of Magazine Editors. The final award winners for both will be announced in November.
Artistic freedom of expression online: have your say

Index on Censorship is conducting a survey in collaboration with The Space into artistic freedom of expression online. The survey considers how free artists and organisations feel to publish work and engage with audiences online; if there is evidence of any self-censorship, and how widespread the issues of online attacks and abuse may be. As an organisation that can offer support and guidance, we are interested in what people feel they need, so we can develop appropriate resources.
The deadline is the end of October: it shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes, and your responses are anonymous. We want to hear experiences of those working within the cultural sector at all levels: please pass on to others who might be interested. The greater the number of responses, the more representative the results. We will report the results, share the findings with the sector and create a forum to discuss further.
Thanking you in advance. Click here to take the survey.
Index on Censorship defends people's freedom to express themselves without fear of harm or persecution. We publish censored writers and artists, monitor and campaign against censorship, and encourage debate.  

We rely on donations from readers and supporters. By donating to Index you help us to protect freedom of expression and to support those who are denied that right.
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