Some artists and curators of Chinese descent, living and working in Europe, have said they feel like they must self-censor their work for fear of retaliation by Beijing authorities against their families back home. Others have had shows cancelled through diplomatic pressure by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), or been surveilled by suspected government actors. And several institutions and local governments in Europe have even been forced to muffle or cancel events that might anger Beijing, because they were afraid of losing Chinese funding or market access, according to the report Whom to Serve? How the CCP censors art in Europe published this month by Index on Censorship.
The non-profit, which champions freedom of expression, interviewed more than 40 art practitioners across Europe for its report, including artists, curators, academics, and expert. It also filed more than 35 freedom of information requests with local museums and galleries to gather evidence of “substantial financial ties and profits accrued from the Chinese market and organizations linked to the CCP.”