Sichuan Earthquake

Ai Weiwei stays in the news

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Ai Weiwei (via Global Times)

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is pursuing a project to collect the names of the school children who died in the Beichuan Earthquake last May. His blog posts, which frequently run afoul of the censors on his blog host, have attracted the attention of other bloggers and media organizations both domestic and international.

This week he turns up in a number of places:

· The China Geeks blog continues its series of translations of the lists and letters that Ai Weiwei posts to his own blog with a letter of thanks from a volunteer:

I once understood the situation the schools were in; people said: you’re just a common person, what can you do? I didn’t know how to answer this. But later in Xiang’e I came across a reporter and was interviewed. He said: “We can only act as recorders, recording these students, recording that they once lived. Then, if years later things are good and it is made public, we can act as witnesses and confirm it.”

· In a feature titled "Naming the Nameless," Global Times reporter Wang Weilan looks at Ai's campaign, which involves a network of volunteers who are visiting schools in Sichuan's earthquake region to collect information:

The efforts of the volunteers have helped Ai to remain focused on why he began his mission, he said.

A volunteer wrote in his investigation diary that when asked by a police officer why he was asking so many questions, he replied, “The mother of a little girl killed in the earthquake said she just wanted the world to know her beautiful child had lived happily in this world for seven years.”

Another woman surnamed Liu from Beijing e-mailed Ai after reading his blog and offered her services. She now travels an hour by bus each day to work as a volunteer at his studio, sorting information and updating the list.

Ai said he fights a running battle trying to keep the information online. The webmaster frequently deletes the list and the diaries, he said. The most recent occasion was Sunday.

“But every time it’s deleted, we just upload it again.”

· Window of the South conducted a lengthy interview with Ai, which he posted to his blog last week. An excerpt:

Do you have confidence in what you are doing?

It's not a question of confidence, because if you don't do it, you're renouncing a lot of values. Are you able to accept the loss of those values? You can say, hey, when I see someone being attacked I'll leave it alone, when I see someone who has fallen down I won't give them a hand up, when I see danger I won't say anything, it's just as simple as that. There's really nothing to say about it, nothing to discuss, and it's not a case of seeing some results before we go and do anything. Doing it is already a result, and persisting in your ideas is already a result.

· Finally, the premiere issue of China Week (中国周刊), a new magazine sponsored by the Youth League, contains a profile of Ai that briefly touches on his past art work as well as his current earthquake activism:

Ai Weiwei has always emphasized his PRC nationality: "People are always saying that I can speak the way I do because of my citizenship. They suspect that I'm an American. I've scanned in my passport and posted it online. See, I'm Chinese. That shuts them up. It's like fighting, I think — if you want to fight, then let's fight, don't talk about who your uncles are. There's no point in that."

"Why did I return from the US? Because I had no reason to stay, and eventually no reason to get out of bed. The American Dream holds no attraction for me."

Update (2009.05.06): Also at the Shanghai Eye, as pointed out in the comments.

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There are currently 4 Comments for Ai Weiwei stays in the news.

Comments on Ai Weiwei stays in the news

He made it here too: link

Thanks, koos. I knew there was something I'd overlooked.

Ai Weiwei is a real Chinese, a model for all Chinese that live overseas and in HK, Mainland, Macou, Taiwan.

Getting a few thousand names won't help anyone.

See this post -

link

[Changed link to post instead of blog front page. --JM]

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