18th March 2021 – (Hong Kong) Eunice Yung Hoi-yan, a Legislative Councillor and a member of the New People’s Party and the Civil Force said in a TV program today (18th) that an artwork by controversial Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s in the “M+ Museum” in the West Kowloon Cultural District is a photo with his middle finger pointed at Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
She believed that artwork was “vulgar” and is disrespectful to China. Yung also pointed out that the work was presented by a Swiss individual and questioned whether anyone, through funding or any form of support incited hatred towards the central government or the Hong Kong government and violated the National Security Act. Chan, chairman of Visual Art Committee (VAC) of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) stated on the same show that “M+ Museum” is a professional museum, and its collections have strict regulations. He believes that the basic direction of Ai Wei Wei’s work is to challenge authority. If only the challenge to Chinese authority is drawn, it is not a complete understanding of Ai Wei Wei’s work and criticised Yung for being not fully knowledgeable. In her subsequent response, Yung said that she did not think it was a matter of insight, and emphasised that it was inappropriate for the exhibit to be displayed in the “M+ Museum”.
Yung said on the program this morning that the artwork can be displayed in private places, but she emphasised that the “M+ Museum” was built with public funds and should not display works that are disrespectful to the country. Yung also pointed out that the artwork has caused controversy and the public feels uneasy. She believes that there is no need for political censorship of exhibits, but the government has the responsibility to examine whether any exhibits are disrespectful to the government and the central government. It is normal to emphasise that government museums have a unique review mechanism.
Yung stated at the Chief Executive’s Question and Answer session yesterday (17th) that the “M+ Museum” collection involved spreading hatred against the country and violated the “National Security Law.” Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that freedom of expression is respected, but public officials need to be cautious. She believes that only the museum can tell the difference between creative freedom and creation of hatred towards the country or even endanger national security. Lam stressed that the authorities will be particularly vigilant