Ai Weiwei, the Dissident Chinese artist has has spoken out for the first time against the Chinese government since his release from detention last spring. Concerned members of the ARTKABINETT art collector network have been following the persecution of this outspoken artist with multiple news over the past several months in our AK Files.
Ai's latest comments violate his conditions of bail and may prejudice his trial for tax fraud a charge he denies. He has accused officials of denying citizens their basic rights.
In a powerfully worded commentary published this week on the Newsweek website , Ai stated. "The worst thing about Beijing is that you can never trust the judicial system. Without trust, you cannot identify anything; it’s like a sandstorm.
"You don’t see yourself as part of the city—there are no places that you relate to, that you love to go. No corner, no area touched by a certain kind of light. You have no memory of any material, texture, shape. Everything is constantly changing, according to somebody else’s will, somebody else’s power".
He went on to say, "To properly design Beijing, you’d have to let the city have space for different interests, so that people can coexist, so that there is a full body to society. A city is a place that can offer maximum freedom. Otherwise it’s incomplete.I feel sorry to say I have no favorite place in Beijing. I have no intention of going anywhere in the city. The places are so simple.
"You don’t want to look at a person walking past because you know exactly what’s on his mind. No curiosity. And no one will even argue with you. None of my art represents Beijing. The Bird’s Nest—I never think about it. After the Olympics, the common folks don’t talk about it because the Olympics did not bring joy to the people".
He Continued, "There are positives to Beijing. People still give birth to babies. There are a few nice parks. Last week I walked in one, and a few people came up to me and gave me a thumbs up or patted me on the shoulder. Why do they have to do that in such a secretive way?
"No one is willing to speak out. What are they waiting for? They always tell me, “Weiwei, leave the nation, please.” Or “Live longer and watch them die.” Either leave, or be patient and watch how they die. I really don’t know what I’m going to do".
"My ordeal made me understand that on this fabric, there are many hidden spots where they put people without identity. With no name, just a number. They don’t care where you go, what crime you committed. They see you or they don’t see you, it doesn’t make the slightest difference.
"There are thousands of spots like that. Only your family is crying out that you’re missing. But you can’t get answers from the street communities or officials, or even at the highest levels, the court or the police or the head of the nation. My wife has been writing these kinds of petitions every day, making phone calls to the police station every day. Where is my husband? Just tell me where my husband is. There is no paper, no information".
"The strongest character of those spaces is that they’re completely cut off from your memory or anything you’re familiar with. You’re in total isolation. And you don’t know how long you’re going to be there, but you truly believe they can do anything to you. There’s no way to even question it. You’re not protected by anything. Why am I here? Your mind is very uncertain of time. You become like mad. It’s very hard for anyone. Even for people who have strong beliefs".
"This city is not about other people or buildings or streets but about your mental structure. If we remember what Kafka writes about his Castle, we get a sense of it. Cities really are mental conditions. Beijing is a nightmare. A constant nightmare".
"Either leave, or be patient and watch how they die," he wrote. "I really don't know what I'm going to do."
Mr Ai was held for income tax evasion for several months last spring. We know he has has enraged the Communist Party for quite sometime. Rights activists and journalists in Hong Kong say one of Ai's visual critiques of the party crossed the censorship line.
The work in question shows the artist naked except for a toy horse concealing his genitals. The caption has a double meaning in Chinese, so millions of internet users have seen the six characters interpreted as: "F . . . k your mother ie. the party central committee." It was also reported in the Wen Wei Po newspaper, an off shoot of China's ruling communist party that Weiwei was a bigamist.
The allegation is that Mr Ai's name appears on the birth certificate of a child he is said to have had with a woman who is not his wife. Online comments by members of Beijing's artist and dissident communities suggested that Mr Ai is the father of the child, but there is no proof that he was ever married to the mother, hence Bigamy is not possible.
He was also suspected of spreading "pornography" on the internet. When analyzed they were actually photos of Mr Ai used for promoting his exhibitions.