Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun talks to dissident artist Ai Weiwei in his home in Beijing where he is reportedly under close surveillance. Officially prohibited from using the web (I am subscribed to his Twitter account where he seems to be publishing regularly) and meeting the press (this interview may suggest otherwise), this interview suggests that Ai Weiwei still has an active voice in asserting the ethical bankruptcy of what he deems a dictatorship.
Critical of the ‘desperation’ of the Chinese state media’s “Learn from Lei Feng” propaganda campaign, he alleges it as a “patriotic drive to unite people’s thoughts and integrate people’s wills in the Internet age” (more China Daily coverage on the Lei Feng campaign here).
“The authorities now suspect I am trying to subvert the state. I’m simply appealing to the dignity of life, whose value is limitless. I can’t understand why the government is so afraid of one artist’s free thought.” Ai Weiwei
In a manner of speaking Ai’s contributions to the spectrum of Chinese-ness and cultural capital is certainly food for thought.
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Ai: China is ethically bankrupt
Source – Yomiuri Shimbun, published March 4, 2012
BEIJING–Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei has criticized the Chinese government, accusing rulers of “manipulating the public for their own interests” and criticized Beijing’s patriotic education during peacetime as “sinful.”
In an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun on Wednesday at his home in Beijing, where he is being kept under strict surveillance by Chinese authorities, the human rights activist said his country is “pursuing a one-sided pragmatism without freedom of speech and thought, and is in a desperate state in which it has become ethically bankrupt.”
As a pro-democracy activist, Ai has continued speaking out under the single-party regime of the Chinese Communist Party. His efforts to expose the regime have made him especially popular among young people. Read the rest of this entry »