Documentary About Exiled Chinese Cartoonist to Mark 30th Anniversary of Massacre

June 3, 2019
By

CAD2A new film by Australian documentarian Danny Ben-Moshe will be broadcast in Australia tomorrow, focused on the career of exiled Chinese cartoonist/street-artist Badiucao to mark the 30th Anniversary of Tiananmen Square. 

CBLDF readers may recognize Badiucao’s work, from the often posted cartoon showing the President of China standing over beloved children’s character, Winnie the Pooh, having hunted and killed him. The masked cartoonist, known for his art critical of the Chinese government, was last in the news when his first major solo gallery exhibit was canceled at very short notice amid security concerns.

Badiucao Pooh cartoon

According to Cartoonists Rights Network International,

Although quiet since then the artist has not been idle. A new documentary directed by acclaimed film-maker Danny Ben-Moshe (CODE OF SILENCE, BREAKING THE SILENCE, MY MOTHER’S LOST CHILDREN), produced by Identity Films and developed with backing from Screen Australia, Film Victoria and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation will be shown on June 4th, the 30th anniversary of the notorious and iconic events that took place on Tiananmen Square in 1989. In CHINA’S ARTFUL DISSIDENT Badiucao travels the globe, inspired by “Tank Man” – the lone protestor who stared down the Red Army’s ordinance as they rolled onto the square. He meets fellow survivors and exiled citizens, all while continuing to create work that confronts China’s human rights record.

Badiucao is one of the most popular and prolific political cartoonists and graphic artists from China. He strives to challenge the censorship and dictatorship in China via his Twitter and Instagram accounts. He believes history is constantly being rewritten and tampered with and even forgotten when free speech and democracy are absent. His art is a record of his personal perspective on social issues which aims to confront the official record. He believes art and the internet have the power to deconstruct and challenge the arrogance and authority of dictatorships, building towards individual awakening and true independence.

Production of this film has not been without personal risk for all involved.
 “The level of fear about Chinese surveillance escalated as the film progressed. I contacted multiple cyber security companies seeking their services, but when they found out what it was for they baulked. They believed it would jeopardise their own commercial interests, was too hard, or they themselves would come under cyber-attack. In the process of making the film, crew requested that their voice was not heard in the film or they asked that their names do not appear in the credits. It made me realise that China’s nefarious activities overseas are like a form of terrorism, where the fear of the threat can be greater than the threat itself. It is outrageous that people are so fearful in Australia and also Europe and America where we also shot the documentary.”
– Danny Ben-Moshe, documentarian
We commend Badiucao, Ben-Moshe and all involved in bringing this important and timely story to a television audience in Australia and, we hope, much further afield.

ABC Arts have put out a web flyer in advance of the documentary which puts the risk to Badiucao into no uncertain terms. While the Chinese artist is often linked to Banksy because of his mask, unlike Banksy, his safety and the safety of his identity are dependent on his obscured identity. The documentary follows Badiucao as he travels around the globe speaking with other dissidents and survivors of the Tiananmen Square massacre, who share intense accounts of living under the crushing machine of China’s censorship and human rights violations.
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