News / Asia

Documentary Profiles Ai Weiwei's Political Activism

Documentary Profiles Ai Weiwei and His Political Activismi
|| 0:00:00
X
Penelope Poulou
August 02, 2012 11:30 PM
A documentary about the Chinese artist and dissident is being released across the United States, just months after his year-long probation in China was lifted. The film, by first-time director Alison Klayman, presents the artist as a creative force and a digital crusader, in addition to being a fighter for human rights. VOA's Penelope Poulou spoke with the director of "Ai Weiwei Never Sorry".
Penelope Poulou
A documentary about the Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei is being released across the United States, just months after the dissident's year-long probation in China was lifted. The film, by first-time director Alison Klayman, presents the artist as a creative force and a digital crusader, in addition to being a fighter for human rights.

For years Ai Weiwei lived abroad where he created art installations. But for more than a year, he hasn't been allowed to leave China.

Now, Alison Klayman's film, Ai Weiwei Never Sorry, shows the artist as a proponent of freedom who is digitally connected to the world.

The film shows how Ai defied the government by researching the deaths of several thousand schoolchildren in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and then listing their names. The government had refused to name them.  

"He put a call on his blog to do an investigation," recalled director Alison Klayman.  "He called it citizen's investigation to go out to all the areas, collect the names, go to the parents, go to the schools, and he ended up gathering over 5000 names of children who died."

He also started an investigation into the shoddy construction of schools that caved in while students were inside.   

Klayman says Ai Weiwei's activism is an integral part of his art. 

"I think no matter what he does, he self-identifies as an independent artist and in the end it's all motivated by this same desire to express himself, to communicate," she said.

Ai was arrested on April 3, 2011 and detained for three months. Although his bail restrictions were lifted in June, he still has not been allowed to leave China.   

Despite that, he continues to use social media to bring rights issues to light. Klayman says Ai's activism has been contagious.

"You see all the people who are influenced by him and are just as active as him online and they may be lawyers and they may be housewives and they've never gone abroad," said Klayman.  "You don't have to be exposed to the West or to another culture to be drawn to these issues of the rule of law and transparency and freedom of expression."

Klayman called her documentary Ai Weiwei Never Sorry as a take on the artist's installation "So Sorry." Ai used that name to mock the Chinese government's apologies after the earthquake.

"Obviously 'Never Sorry' seems a lot more to be the attitude that Weiwei stands for, that he unapologetically and steadfastly will be promoting no matter what," said Klayman.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: l from: js
August 15, 2012 12:04 PM
you,american's media is full of false news.like 2008'tibet event,someone in west change deliberately the truth by weaving some story that did not happen at all.i dislike you all because we never want to hurt you,but at the same time you always uglify us.ai weiwei was arrested just because of Economic crime.ok,i know you think i may be an official or even a sodier who serve Communist Party.i am just a normal high school student.you not believe?i dont care.i love my country just like you love america,and we have human right such as voting right ,medical care and so on.i admit that there is something bad,but is america perfect.american troopers could killer innocent Pakistani troopers or people without saying sorry.you are always right because you are the first,and we should be second forever.next time ,i will write a acticle called 'american never sorry'.


by: Cindyooy from: Gz,China
August 06, 2012 10:52 AM
I cannot deny that maybe we can't live a fully human right in China, but not for the medicial care or some social welfares but the corruptions that we cannot even notice .So that just like we live on our own and obey the situation ,over which our control.I know who is the chairman,premier,however ,what the hell that matters to me ?!


by: Cindyooy from: Gz,China
August 06, 2012 10:52 AM
I cannot deny that maybe we can't live a fully human right in China, but not for the medicial care or some social welfares but the corruptions that we cannot even notice .So that just like we live on our own and obey the situation ,over which our control.I know who is the chairman,premier,however ,what the hell that matters to me ?!


by: jill from: china
August 05, 2012 6:26 AM
The people in China has no human rights!

In Response

by: CK from: Viet nam
August 05, 2012 11:21 PM
A lot of people are dreaming about human right which is being violated right in the US. They talk about no overtime working for laborers while many have to work 10 hours in the US! Many color natives have to live under poverty without medicare and households. So it means every country has its own problem. You guys don't argue against each other for this vague issue.

In Response

by: jill from: China
August 05, 2012 9:42 PM
I am a Chinses,and I can tell you ,here, even the basic human rights are not,for example, freedom of speech.my english is poor,please forgive me

In Response

by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
August 05, 2012 12:22 PM
@jill, you mean they dont have human rights AT ALL? or you mean they dont have complete human rights? If it is the second, then tell me which country has? don't tell me it is USA, they dont even have a fully covered medicare, and those waiting for food stamps, how can they have human rights?


by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
August 04, 2012 8:09 PM
Pay your tax please! you rich arts smuggler! So many poor Chinese labours work on the minimum wage of $15 a day.

In Response

by: Anonymous
August 05, 2012 6:51 AM
The wage of me is less than $15 a day

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid