I worked with a bunch of Chinese artists for a few weeks last month, they were a trip! Interesting folks, most had been in the US a couple times but a couple had never been here before, none had spent any time in a Rural area of the US so all of them were a bit nervous about their temporary surroundings.
The Non Art conversations were sporadic and measured, most were about the US, very few were about China. I found them to be less inhibited when we were one on one than when we were in a group. I wont mention exact conversations because I wouldnt want any of them to get into trouble and I do believe Their Big Brother is something they fear for good reason. Gun talk came up a bunch of times, they were shocked to hear that me and most of my neighbors had lots of guns and yet we had so many freedoms and rights. I pointed out to them thats exactly why we have so many freedoms and rights!
They mentioned some situations that reminded me of how the US is so different from theirs and others, a few of them sounded too much like the new FOOG laws and policies that were being force fed by our very own Government. I really did enjoy my time with them, they were humorous, intelligent and curious as well as being artful. Not a single one of them directly criticized anything about the Chinese Government while the intonations were clearly evident. They seemed surprised that I would be publicly critical of the US government especially since I was a Retired Military Member.
Me and my Tech team were responsible for recreating and installing their art pieces so we got pretty close for a while, they started calling me Sergent! Opening day of the show, they even gave "Sgt Robinson" credit for being Coauthor of many of their pieces and asked me to guide the first walking tour! That was a great honor, Ive received placatory gestures from other artists in the past, none ever let anyone else much less a servant like me into their limelight; these guys (and one gal) were genuine, respectful and courageous.