Ai Weiwei and the Bird's nest
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[楼主] blablabla 2008-08-18 17:37:53

Why I"ll stay away from the opening ceremony of the Olympics

source: The Guardian guardian.co.uk.

When I helped conceive Beijing"s Bird"s Nest stadium, I wanted it to represent freedom, not autocracy: China must change

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. Under the gaze of the planet"s population, China will melt into a wider whole, into humanity. The world suddenly feels smaller and closer.

It means a great deal to our nation because we have struggled to open up after decades of seclusion. For the past 30 years, we have dismantled barriers, opened doors and windows, been dazzled by sunshine and felt the wind of profound change. In the Olympics, we expect to witness new heights of effort and hope, speed and strength, that will inspire China to lift the pace of reform, to be more determined, more courageous, and more at peace with ourselves.

To reach this point, China has endured disasters, suffering, humiliation, and a darkness that made people hopeless. Almost 60 years after the founding of the People"s Republic, we still live under autocratic rule without universal suffrage. We do not have an open media even though freedom of expression is more valuable than life itself. Today is not the time to dwell on our problems, but neither should we accept those who tell us these games are not political.

We live in a world where everything is politicised, but some people insist the Olympics should be different. They imply that this fortnight of sport is somehow disconnected from history and psychology, unrelated to theory and morality and on a more elevated plane than base human nature. They argue that anyone who links the games with politics has sinister ulterior motives, that they are anti-Chinese. But the real reason they don"t like politics is because any discussion of the subject reminds people who was responsible for making China so detached from the rest of the world.

Today China and the world will meet again. People will see that the planet is now smaller than at any time in history, that mankind should bid farewell to arrogance and indifference, to ignorance and discrimination, and understand that we share the same small piece of land. It will be a time to rediscover each other, to share what is good in life, to look each other in the eye and link all 10 fingers.

The colourful festival is a time not just for celebration, but also for peace and friendship. To rediscover our future, we should say goodbye to our past.

We must bid farewell to autocracy. Whatever shape it takes, whatever justification it gives, authoritarian government always ends up trampling on equality, denying justice and stealing happiness and laughter from the people.

We should also leave behind discrimination, because it is narrow-minded and ignorant, denies contact and warmth; and corrodes mankind"s belief that we can better ourselves. The only way to avoid misunderstanding, war and bloodshed is to defend freedom of expression and to communicate with sincerity, concern and good intentions.

The "Bird"s Nest" National Stadium, which I helped to conceive, is designed to embody the Olympic spirit of "fair competition". It tells people that freedom is possible but needs fairness, courage and strength. Following the same principles, I will stay away from the opening ceremony, because I believe the freedom of choice is the basis of fair competition. It is the right I cherish most.

If we want it to be, today can be a moment of courage, hope and passion. This day will test our faith in the human race, and our determination to build a better future.



[wmv=425,344,1]http://www.youtube.com/v/hddG7u1hlOU&color1=11645361&color2=13619151&hl=en&fs=1[/wmv]

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