Newspaper article The Canadian Press

AI Weiwei on the Need for Humanity in the World's Refugee Crisis

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

AI Weiwei on the Need for Humanity in the World's Refugee Crisis

Article excerpt

Ai Weiwei on the far-right movement

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TORONTO - Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei says Canada holds a very important role in welcoming refugees as other countries close their borders.

The outspoken artist was in Toronto to accept the Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship and promote a documentary that showcases the plight of displaced people around the world.

Ai praised Canada for having a "very open attitude" in its refugee record, and bemoaned a global far-right movement that has demonized immigrants.

The prolific and provocative artist is known for large-scale installations that deal with freedom of expression, human rights and technology.

He's lived much of his life in exile. His political criticism of the Chinese government resulted in his detainment for 81 days and the loss of his passport for two years.

Ai bemoaned the U.S. administration's plans to cap refugee admissions to 45,000 in the coming year, but says it reflects a broader antagonism in the West that must be confronted.

The anti-immigrant stance trumpeted by U.S. president Donald Trump is an unfortunate product of our democracy, says Ai. …

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