Editor's Note: China’s meteoric rise to global economic power has come at a dire cost to human rights, says artist Ai Weiwei. While onlookers in the West are dimly aware of the massive relocations, political corruption, widespread worker riots, and environmental disasters that have accompanied China’s astonishing recent growth, Beijing’s control of Chinese media has made the extent of these problems difficult to ascertain. Ai Weiwei, named “most powerful artist in the world” of 2011 by ArtForum magazine, has made it his mission to confront Beijing’s corruption and hypocrisy at home and on the international stage. It has earned him police beatings, extended detention, tax persecution, and the silencing of his popular blog and Twitter account, yet he continues, undaunted. Here, in a Big Think interview at his Beijing studio, Ai Weiwei discusses the challenges China faces to becoming a truly “great nation.”
VIDEO: Ai Weiwei on the challenges China faces to becoming a "great nation."