Graffiti war breaks out after Chinese Communist Party slogans appear on London’s Brick Lane

After Chinese propoganda slogans painted, artists respond with anti-China graffiti

Shweta Sharma
Thursday 10 August 2023 04:42 BST
Chinese Communist Party slogans appear on London's Brick Lane.mp4

London’s famous Brick Lane became a battleground for supporters and opponents of China’s Communist Party, as artists engaged in a graffiti war with slogans and signs countering each other.

It began after a group of artists spray-painted the big red Chinese characters that outline the 12 “core socialist values” on a nearly 100m long wall on East London Street on Saturday.

The Chinese government slogan under the leadership of Xi Jinping is at the heart of CCP propaganda and these values include, “prosperity”, “patriotism” and “harmony”, “democracy”, “equality”, “freedom” and “the rule of law”.

The graffiti on the Brick Lane swiftly went viral on social media, sparking criticism and concerns with another section of artists covering it with anti-Beijing slogans.

The CCP slogan was overlaid with social concerns linked to Chinese rule with graffiti reading “Free Taiwan”, “Free Tibet”, “Free Uyghur” and references to the Tiananmen Square massacre references.

But on Monday, residents woke up to the wall being completely whitewashed by the Tower Hamlets council. While confrontational art was removed from both sides, the residents were upset that they lost some more meaningful older slogans.

A woman sticks a Tibetan independence poster on an area of wall that had been graffitied with Chinese Communist Party ideology
A woman sticks a Tibetan independence poster on an area of wall that had been graffitied with Chinese Communist Party ideology (Getty Images)

It included a piece of graffiti work that was a tribute to the late street artist Marty.

Wang Hanzheng, one of the students who created the graffiti, wrote on Instagram that the piece "didn’t have much political meaning".

"In the name of freedom and democracy, it illustrates the cultural centre of the West, this is London’s freedom… Decolonize the false freedom of the West with the construction of socialism, let’s see what happens," the post read.

"Needless to say what’s the situation on the other side," he added.

Benedict Rogers, head of the rights group Hong Kong Watch, was critical of the graffiti on Brick Lane.

“I utterly condemn the #CCP thugs who defaced London’s Brick Lane with their regime’s vile hate-filled propaganda,” he said.

The Brick Lane area known for its diverse and vibrant atmosphere has colourful and intricate murals painted on the lanes and buildings, making it a popular destination for street art enthusiasts.

But the slogans on Brick Lane have ignited online debates regarding their classification as street art and the intricate interplay between freedom of expression and political propaganda.

Moreover, the wall has transformed into a stage for conflicting narratives, with individuals promptly incorporating fresh graffiti to voice criticisms against the Chinese government.

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