As a person I was born to give out my opinions. By giving out my opinions I realize who I am. As long as I can communicate I’m not so lonely. If I cannot travel or do art or have company if they take away all my belongings it doesn’t matter at all.
If we all say the same thing then I think the government has to listen. But because no one is saying it I become singled out even though what I’m saying is common sense. It’s very essential values that we all have to protect. But in Chinese society people are giving up on protecting these values.
Police in China can do whatever they want after 81 days in arbitrary detention you clearly realise that they don’t have to obey their own laws. In a society like this there is no negotiation no discussion except to tell you that power can crush you any time they want – not only you your whole family and all people like you.
This week the world gathers in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic games. This is the extraordinary moment China has been dreaming of for 100 years. People have been longing for this moment because it symbolises a turning point in China’s relationship with the outside world.
Censorship is saying: ‘I’m the one who says the last sentence. Whatever you say the conclusion is mine.’ But the internet is like a tree that is growing. The people will always have the last word – even if someone has a very weak quiet voice. Such power will collapse because of a whisper.
People are always wondering if I am an artist or political activist or politician. Maybe I’ll just clearly tell you: Whatever I do is not art. Let’s say it is just objects or materials movies or writing but not art OK?
I think Chinese leadership is trying to tell the world they have another set of logic or reasoning or values which are different from yours. Of course I don’t think they believe that. It’s just an argument that’s made when you can’t confront the truth and facts. They really want to maintain power.
The Chinese art world does not exist. In a society that restricts individual freedoms and violates human rights anything that calls itself creative or independent is a pretence. It is impossible for a totalitarian society to create anything with passion and imagination.
This nation is notorious for its ability to make or fake anything cheaply. ‘Made-in-China’ goods now fill homes around the world. But our giant country has a small problem. We can’t manufacture the happiness of our people.
China has not established the rule of law and if there is a power above the law there is no social justice. Everybody can be subjected to harm. I’m just a citizen: my life is equal in value to any other. But I’m thankful that when I lost my freedom so many people shared feelings and put such touching effort into helping me.
Widespread state control over art and culture has left no room for freedom of expression in the country. For more than 60 years anyone with a dissenting opinion has been suppressed. Chinese art is merely a product: it avoids any meaningful engagement. There is no larger context. Its only purpose is to charm viewers with its ambiguity.
The American experience influenced my understanding of individuality basic human rights freedom of expression and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.
I don’t believe in the so-called Olympic spirit. I speak from personal experience. When China hosted the Games it failed to include the people. The event was constructed without regard for their joy.