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Ai Weiwei: The artwork that made me the most dangerous person in China: The work was called Remembering. Given all our social and political investigations, it was about how, in Chinese society, with censorship and control, individuals can still take action to defend their very, very fragile rights. It was also the culmination of all my years on the internet. I’ve been blogging since 2005, so when that show happened in Munich in 2009, it was like all my efforts were coming to a head. Not long after, I was put in jail and had all kinds of struggles with authority. Remembering was a high point.
The kind of authoritarian state we have in China cannot survive if it answers questions – if the truth is revealed, they are finished. So they started to think of me as the most dangerous person in China. That made me become an artist, but also an activist. So for Remembering, I covered the whole of the Haus der Kunst’s facade with children’s backpacks, spelling out in Chinese what that mother had told me. The design and the colours were inspired by Toys R Us. The Guardian online article 15 February 2018
Ai Weiwei: Law of the Journey, 2017 … Cast adrift on an infinite ocean of terror and despair. Simon Schama, Civilisations s1e9: The Vital Spark, BBC 2018
For all the tough talk about China during the presidential debates, Romney and Obama evaded any mention of China’s suspect human rights record, corruption, and rule of law. By not tackling these controversial topics, the candidates are protecting a strategic partnership with China at the expense of essential human values and beliefs. Ai Weiwei
Police in China can do whatever they want; after 81 days in arbitrary detention you clearly realise that they don’t have to obey their own laws. In a society like this there is no negotiation, no discussion, except to tell you that power can crush you any time they want – not only you, your whole family and all people like you. Ai Weiwei
We see the tendency in the world to criticise democracy and sometimes even to say that authoritarian countries like China are more efficient. That is very short-sighted. China looks efficient only because it can sacrifice most people’s rights. This is not something the west should be happy about. Ai Weiwei
China has not established the rule of law and if there is a power above the law there is no social justice. Everybody can be subjected to harm. I’m just a citizen: my life is equal in value to any other. But I’m thankful that when I lost my freedom so many people shared feelings and put such touching effort into helping me. Ai Weiwei