|Ai Weiwei risks his personal security and future to speak out to the CBC about human|
rights abuses in China and the conditions surrounding his current house arrest in Beijing.
image courtesy of galleristny.com
In his first major North American interview since his detainment, Ai Weiwei takes on a considerable risk to himself and his family to discuss his situation and keep the conversation going about human rights abuses in China today. In the CBC interview with the art and culture program Q, he discusses the difficulties he has faced both mentally and physically during his long detainment, the question of whether he sees any aspect of his current condition as a form of performance art, and his decision to continue residing in China even after his current situation is resolved. He also warns Western politicians about the short-sighted approach and "bad message" that is sent to the Chinese authority by ignoring human rights abuses while continuing to build economic ties with China. He singles out Canada for this violation and persuasively speaks about the mixed message that is received in Chinese society with respect to the need for social change when so much is ignored by the West when it comes to the internal conditions in the country. Sadly, Ai does not believe that power will shift any time soon within China, but he does believe that external pressure and the consciousness raising through the conditions of his arrest will help others come to recognize the true face of the current Beijing authority. In terms of art's power to affect social change, Ai maintains that it is through collective efforts and "ordinary people's passion" that such transformation is possible.