Hitting the Right Note in China: The Arts and Censorship
Monday, January 23, 2012
Given China's demonstrated thirst for Western classical music -- witnessed in its dozens of new concert halls and millions of kids studying the piano -- it's no surprise that major American arts organizations are clamoring to get a toehold there. The New York Philharmonic has signed a deal to work with the Shanghai Symphony; the Philadelphia Orchestra is partnering with Beijing's National Arts Center; and Lincoln Center is providing consulting services to a performing arts center in Tianjin.
But along with opportunities come challenges in working with a government that has been accused of repressive policies. Do Western organizations have an obligation to speak out against censorship and government controls? Or can such organizations help spread democratic values by doing work there?
Joining host Naomi Lewin to discuss these issues are three guests: Phelim Kine, a senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch; Robin Pogrebin, an arts reporter at the New York Times; and Jeffrey Wasserstrom, a professor of Chinese history at UC Irvine and author of the book China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know.
Weigh in: What are the obligations of Western arts organizations doing work in China? Please leave your comments below.