Ai Weiwei
Artist and Activist
03:47

Ai Weiwei: You Have To Look Your Enemy in the Face

Ai Weiwei: You Have To Look Your Enemy in the Face

Chinese artist and political dissident Ai Weiwei explains why he continues to fight legal battles in Chinese courts that are rigged against him.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese contemporary artist, active in sculpture, installation, architecture, curating, photography, film, and social, political and cultural criticism. Ai collaborated with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron as the artistic consultant on the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics. As a political activist, he has been highly and openly critical of the Chinese Government's stance on democracy and human rights. He has investigated government corruption and cover-ups, in particular the Sichuan schools corruption scandal following the collapse of so-called "tofu-skin schools" in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. In 2011, following his arrest at Beijing airport on 3 April, he was held for over two months without any official charges being filed; officials alluded to their allegations of "economic crimes" (tax evasion). In October 2011 ArtReview magazine named Ai number one in their annual Power 100 list. 

Transcript

Ai Weiwei: In past few years, I made so many fight with the system.  Many people think I become a so-called activist.  But every fight we’re making have very strong reason that are really related to me.  And I make all the argument, which I think I’m responsible to make those argument, and also to share with other people.  During the struggle it’s not I already know the clear answer.  You can predict the answer, but I’m a person never really accept the predictions.  I like to go through it, to see maybe there’s a miracle, maybe something will happen, maybe other predictions before are false and not accurate.  Even come out with surprise and with a great disappointment, but still it’s a struggle fighting with myself.  I have to learn from it.

I have to get the solid answer by myself, rather just listen to other people.  So those drag me into so much trouble.  And by the way I’m still here, and I’m still alive, and I think relatively healthy.  And my mind still working, even with beaten, which greatly reduced my ability in many ways mentally.  But still, I think I can put up a fight.  I still can give a relatively okay performance on that.  And I never disassociate my fight with other people.

I think every effort I made, my children will not make the same effort.  The other people who have less potential, less inference, they will be benefited.  Another this is you always have to tell your enemy who you are and what you’re fighting for.  I think that’s very important.  I think to clearly tell your enemy, look at their face, and look into their eyes to tell them who you are.

Directed / Produced byJonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd

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