Ai Weiwei: I'm Not an Activist

Artist Ai Weiwei sees his ongoing battles with the Chinese government as a matter of personal responsibility to "look your enemy in the face and tell them what you're fighting for." 

Editors' Note: On New Year's Day, 2013, protests erupted in China's Guangdong province over government censorship of a newspaper, Southern Weekly. In highly unusual show of resistance, the paper's reporters demonstrated in the streets, protesting the rewriting of a New Year's editorial by the province's propaganda minister. 


Artist Ai Weiwei, who has been fighting for freedom of expression and human rights in China through his art, social media, and assiduous legal battles with the Chinese government in a court system they control, argues that what some have called his "activism" is simply the very personal struggle of a man responding to everyday injustice. He sees his ongoing fight as a matter of personal responsibility to "look your enemy in the face and tell them what you're fighting for." 

VIDEO: Ai Weiwei on why he does battle within a legal system that's rigged against him. 

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