This is clearly true if you're Chinese. But also true, less obviously, if you're a citizen of one of the so-called democracies- where annoying the powerful can bring deniable penalties on a sliding scale from being banned on Twitter to having your car come off the road.
No nation- by which I mean the powerful people in that nation- is particularly tolerant of criticism. The Johnson government is only the latest in a long line British executives to want to hobble and intimidate the already innocuous BBC.
Meanwhile what is being done to Julian Assange carries a chilling message for us all. I have never understood how the USA has managed to persuade itself- and its client states- that Assange- who is Australian- should be subject to its laws.
Exposing the nefarious doings of a foreign power (which the USA is to Assange): how can that be a crime?
But apparently it is- which means it's not only dangerous to seek to understand your own motherland- seeking to understand other people's motherlands can be dangerous too.
Ai Wei Wei, having been persecuted at home, moved to Germany, but feeling that Germany was becoming too chummy with China, has since moved again. He now lives in Cambridge. Not Cambridge, Massachussets, but Cambridge, Cambridgeshire...