Ai Weiwei Grants First, Post-Release Interview

Not only has artist Ai Weiwei been breaking the social media gag order the Chinese government placed on him upon his release from a three month detainment, with posts first on Google+ and then earlier this week on Twitter, now Weiwei has broken the media ban as well by sitting down for a reported six hour interview with a newspaper. However, that’s a bit easier to understand when you learn that said paper, the Global Times, is well under the control of China’s government, as close as a state-run paper as you can get. That six hour interview has been condensed into just two pages, but if you’re able to look past the Global Times‘ bias, it’s not only chock full of information, but it’s interesting to finally hear Weiwei in his own words, outside of those aforementioned brief online snippets. ArtInto has gone through the essay and pulled out some of the more telling sections and quotes, lending some context along the way to help fill in the gaps. Most interesting, perhaps, is that they found in their reading that the paper actually “comes out in support of Ai through a number of passive but notable ways. Most prominent among them is their argument that Ai isn’t actually committing the cardinal sin of trying to start a revolution.” Here’s a bit more on that:

“While Ai continues to demand reforms, he said he has never called for a change to the form of China’s government,” Global Times writes. “Overthrowing the regime through a radical revolution is not the way to solve China’s problems,” Ai is quoted as saying. “The most important thing is a scientific and democratic political system.” Calling for democracy, of course, is dicey — but China’s number one political crime is attempting to overthrow the government, which the Global Times articles goes out of its way to state that Ai is not doing.