Artist Ai Weiwei’s protest against Danish governmental racism


Artist Ai Weiwei and gallery director Jens Faurschou

From the BBC in Britain:

Ai Weiwei closes Denmark exhibit in protest against asset seizures

3 hours ago

The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has closed an exhibition in Denmark in protest at plans to confiscate asylum seekers’ valuables to pay for their upkeep.

Staff at the Faurschou Foundation in Copenhagen confirmed the exhibition closed on Wednesday.

Danish police will be able to seize valuables worth more than 10,000 kroner (1,340 euros; £1,000) from refugees to cover housing and food costs.

The proposal was backed by the country’s parliament on Tuesday.

MPs also approved plans to delay family reunions for asylum seekers. Mr Ai also said he was protesting against this.

His Ruptures exhibition has been running since March 2015 and was expected to end in April 2016.

The gallery’s owner, Jens Faurschou, said he backed the artist’s decision and expressed his own disappointment at the government’s decision.

He told the BBC: “It’s making a picture of Denmark and the Danes as a terrible country. As a Danish passport holder, which I always have been happy to be, I am not happy today.”

Mr Faurschou said Mr Ai was “shocked” when he called him on Wednesday morning from Lesbos after spending the night reading the news.

“When he lived in China, he pointed to the problems there. Now he lives in Europe, he points to the problems here. He has a global voice,” he said.

Earlier this month, Mr Ai opened a studio on the Greek island of Lesbos, saying he wants to raise consciousness about the plight of refugees through art.

Ai Weiwei's peace sign on Lesbos island, made from refugees' life jackets

The studio, staffed by his students from China and Germany, will produce several projects with themes related to the refugee crisis.

The migrants’ assets law adopted by Denmark has been widely criticised by human rights groups and by the UN.

Amnesty International regional director John Dalhuisen described the vote as “mean spirited”.

The prospect of refugees having possessions seized has drawn comparisons to the confiscation of valuables from Jews during World War Two. …

The government has said that the policy brings refugees in line with unemployed Danes, who also face having to sell assets above a certain level to claim benefits.

That anti-unemployed people means test witch hunt is a shame as well. They don’t means test and expropriate weapons manufacturing or pollution causing billionaires. Treating unemployed Danish people disgracefully can never be an argument for treating refugees disgracefully. Just like the fact that Adolf Hitler committed mass murder of Jews did not make it any less disgraceful that he committed mass murder of Roma, Slavs, Africans etc. as well.

However, critics have said that many Danes have unemployment insurance that saves them having to sell assets, and anyway would not face the kind of searches proposed under the new law.

The new measures also mean the period migrants will have to wait before applying for relatives to join them will be extended from one year to three – a move aimed at discouraging new arrivals.

Temporary residence permits will be shortened and the conditions for obtaining a permanent permit will be restricted.

Denmark received more than 21,000 asylum seekers in 2015.

Denmark is not the first European country to demand the assets of asylum seekers.

Earlier this month, Switzerland was criticised by a refugee group for seizing assets from some 100 people in 2015. Under Swiss rules, asylum seekers have to hand over assets above $1,000 (£700; €900).

Syrian woman refugee makes selfie on Lesbos

This ANP photo shows a Syrian woman refugee making a selfie on Lesbos island in Greece, relieved about having survived the dangerous sea journey from Turkey.

Today, NOS TV in the Netherlands reports that Juncker‘s unelected European Commission in Brussels is dissatisfied with the elected Greek government for not doing ‘enough’ anti-refugee measures, like mandatory fingerprinting etc. A draft report threatens with European Union measures, harming tourism to Greece. This draft anti-Greek government report is by the European Union’s migration commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos. Dimitris Avramopoulos is a member of the right-wing New Democracy party in Greece. Before losing the elections, when they were still in government, they practiced cruel anti-refugee racism.

Turkey ‘acting illegally’ over Syria refugees’ deportations: here.

6 thoughts on “Artist Ai Weiwei’s protest against Danish governmental racism

  1. Wednesday 27th January 2016

    posted by James Tweedie in World

    DANISH MPs voted overwhelmingly yesterday to confiscate refugees’ cash and valuables to pay for their stay in Denmark.

    Bill L87 passed 81-27 with one abstention.

    Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen’s liberal Venstre party won the vote with the support of the Social Democrats and the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party.

    The draconian act — requiring refugees entering Denmark to surrender cash or valuables worth over 10,000 kroner (£1,000) — is expected to come into force next week when Queen Margrethe signs it into law.

    That amount is an increase on original proposal of 3,000 kroner (£300) .

    It equals the threshold of savings and assets above which unemployed Danes are not allowed to claim benefits.

    In return for handing over their cash and belongings, refugees will get a bed in one of the country’s tent camps in the freezing Scandinavian winter.

    The act also increases the period refugees must wait before their spouses, children or parents — even of unaccompanied children — can join them from one to three years.

    Denmark accepted 20,000 refugees last year, compared to Germany’s 1.1 million and Sweden’s 163,000.

    Communist Party of Denmark chairman Jurgen Petersen condemned the “scandalous” law, saying it was part of a raft of measures designed to force those fleeing war to seek refuge elsewhere.

    “Confiscating the valuables of refugees, which we have seen before in the history of Europe, is an inhumane scandal showing how far the right-wing government — with the support of the Social Democratic Party — are ready to go,” Mr Petersen said.

    He accused the government and its supporters of dodging its obligations as “active participants in the wars in the Middle East that these refugees are trying to escape.”

    He pointed out that Denmark was “once known as a strong defender of international conventions” but now the “vast majority of parliament are unified not only in going to the limits of these conventions [but] in trying to undermine them.”

    By contrast, Mr Petersen hailed the solidarity shown to refugees by ordinary Danes.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-fb78-Denmark-Refugees-forced-to-hand-over-valuables#.VqlRe1JrgdU

    Like

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