I think those technology platforms [the internet and social media] constantly put the government on trial. And every event, every policy they make, people will laugh about it, and they will make fun about it.

This is amazing for the younger generation. 

– Ai Weiwei

Editors' note: In this dispatch from Beijing, artist and political activist Ai Weiwei  explains the powerful effects of social media on political freedom in China. His own enormously popular blog and twitter feed, through which he repeatedly challenged Beijing for human rights abuses, were shut down by Chinese authorities in 2009.