THE MESSAGES ARRIVED suddenly and then he went quiet. “My identity is leaked,” he said. “I am worried about my safety.”
The Chinese dissident artist Badiucao had been busy preparing an exhibition in Hong Kong to celebrate Free Expression Week, a series of events organized by rights groups. His show was partly inspired by Google’s plan to build a censored search engine in China, and was set to include work that the artist had created skewering the U.S. tech giant for cooperating with the Communist Party regime’s suppression of internet freedom.
But just days before the exhibition was set to launch last year, at a high-profile event featuring members of Russian punk-activist group Pussy Riot, it was canceled by organizers. Badiucao had received threats from the Chinese government and soon went into hiding.
It was a nightmare scenario for the artist, one of China’s most prolific political satirists, who has never revealed his real name. Somehow, police in China had discovered who he was — and they were trying to track him down.
“China is trying to stop any chance for people in Hong Kong to resist.”
“The Chinese government sent two policemen to visit my family in China. They took one of my family members to a police station and interrogated them for three or four hours,” Badiucao told The Intercept. “They were sending a message that they wanted my show to be canceled, and they said they would show no mercy to me anymore. It was intimidation, a terror tactic in order to force me to shut my mouth.”
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