An artist looking into new tech, who wanted to make a difference, and who held contempt for China’s strict censorship laws, decided to create NFT’s as a result of the Beijing Winter Olympics continuing, despite its alleged human rights violations.
China is under fire for detaining and abusing Muslim Uighurs in the Xinjiang province. The detainees are taken to what the Chinese government calls ‘education camps’. The Chinese government claims that the objective of the camps is to “…rid them of separatist thoughts and religious extremism..”, and deny all allegations of human rights violations. However, the U.S. believes that genocide, imprisonment, forced sterilization, rape, torture, and forced labor are some of the human rights violations that are being alleged.
In late December, the U.S. announced it was diplomatically boycotting the event by announcing that no diplomatic leaders will be in attendance. In response, China fired back calling the U.S.’s actions a ‘self-directed political farce’. The U.S. stands with the UK, Canada, and Australia in this effort. With smaller regions such as Tibet and Hong Kong encouraging their citizens not to watch the games.
Chinese artist, Badiucao, is worried that China will try to white was what is happening in their country by using the Olympics as a distraction. He has been making art for ten years, and in those years, Badiucao moved to Australia due to China’s strict censorship laws. He is a political cartoonist and needed freedom to talk about politics with no fear of the government.
One day, Badiucao came up with the idea of an ‘anti-advertisement’ for the Olympics. “I want to have a fake advertisement. A collection of five posters will be put out as NFT art. Each poster depicts one particular human rights violation committed by the Chinese government.
A statement on the NFT site describes the five works as “the Chinese government’s oppression of the Tibetan people, the Uyghur genocide, the dismantling of democracy in Hong Kong, the regime’s omnipresent surveillance systems, and lack of transparency surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.”
NFT’s are the latest platform of the digital world offered to artists. Each image has its unique signature on the artwork that proves ownership of the file. Once a piece gets sold, a mark gets made on the worldwide blockchain that can’t be erased. That’s the most interesting part of it all: you can never take an NFT off the internet because you can never shut down the blockchain. This is where NFT’s differ from a website. Governments have the power to shut down servers that give the website a place to go, however, because the blockchain is worldwide, there’s no blocking it from the public.
Physical versions of the posters are found in American cities such as Miami and San Francisco. Badiucao says he believes the NFT world will be a major tool to battle the censorship in China and is hoping to lead by example.