Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei Blasts ‘inhuman’ Communist Regime and Says Internet Would Bring it Down
Posted by Author on November 7, 2010
By Marianne Barriaux (AFP), Nov. 7, 2010 –
BEIJING — Chinese artist Ai Weiwei branded the nation’s government “inhuman” on Sunday and said the Internet would bring the current Communist regime to an end, as he remained under house arrest in Beijing.
Ai, one of China’s most famous artists who currently has an exhibition at London’s Tate Modern, says he has been confined to his home to stop him from attending a gathering at his new Shanghai studio which is due to be demolished.
“This society is not efficient, it’s inhuman in many ways politically,” the 53-year-old, also a well-known social critic in China, told AFP.
“The government, the whole system… sacrifices education, environmental resources and most people’s interests just to make a few people become extremely rich only because they are associated with the government.
“This cannot last too long…. This society basically has no creativity. It’s just cheap labour and very police-controlled. How long can that last?” he said over the phone.
Ai’s house arrest, due to last until midnight on Sunday, comes amid a widespread crackdown on dissidents, lawyers and professors after jailed writer Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last month.
While he is not allowed to leave his home, others, including reporters, have been able to visit him. Beijing police were unavailable for comment Sunday.
Ai, who updates his Twitter account regularly, said the Internet was a powerful force for change that was enabling more and more people to find out what was happening in China.
“The Internet is the best gift to China — this kind of technology will end this kind of dictatorship.”
Before his house arrest, the artist had planned a feast for supporters at his Shanghai studio on Sunday as an ironic celebration of a decision by authorities to demolish the building — despite having originally asked him to build it.
He said the order came after he became increasingly critical of Shanghai’s policies, writing for example about activist Feng Zhenghu, who for months was blocked from returning home from Japan.
“That must have really irritated someone at a very high level,” he said.
Ai said that despite being unable to attend the party himself, supporters had gone to the studio anyway on Sunday. People at the site said on Twitter that hundreds had shown up.
As an artist, one of Ai’s best-known works is his collaboration with Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuro on the National Stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, an event he has since condemned as a “pretend smile”.
He has also taken on the role of social critic, for example investigating school collapses in China’s massive 2008 quake in the southwestern province of Sichuan, which many believe were triggered by shoddy construction work.
At last year’s trial in Sichuan of activist Tan Zuoren, who also probed the collapses and was later handed a five-year jail term, Ai said he was detained and beaten by police who blocked him from testifying on Tan’s behalf.
He subsequently underwent surgery in Germany to relieve pressure on his brain from a blood clot which he said was the result of the beating.
Ai said Sunday he was resigned to the potential danger of speaking out.
“What am I going to do? I only have one choice — leave China — which I don’t want to do. This is my land here,” he said.
“If everybody can speak up a little bit, then I won’t be in danger. But I still have to show others how they should act.”
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This entry was posted on November 7, 2010 at 12:16 pm and is filed under Artists, Beijing, China, East China, Forced Evictions, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, shanghai, Social, World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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