“If we don’t push,” says Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, “there’s nothing happening.” Art may have the power to change the world, but so does the internet, says Ai Weiwei, who through his blogs and tweets is trying to make Beijing more accountable to its people – and that is a difficult task in the world’s largest Communist state.
Ai Weiwei is China’s most famous artist – and one of its most courageous. Once such a darling of the Communist Party elite that he was chosen to design the famous “bird cage” stadium for the 2008 Olympics, Ai Weiwei has since become the bane – and the conscience – of Beijing. Persecuted and jailed for taking the regime to task for covering up corruption and for hiding the truth about the extent of the 2008 earthquake, Ai Weiwei is a champion fighting to make his government more transparent. Filmmaker Alison Klayman brings his story to the West in a new film that airs on most PBS stations in late February.
The controversial Chinese artist who not only gave the Beijing government “the finger” but also photographed himself doing so and circulated around the world on the internet and in art shows, is the subject of this newest entry in PBS’ Independent Lens series. As an artist, he says, “I mainly make the decisions and let someone else implement them.” Those who do that work, his assistants, jokingly refer to themselves as “hired assassins’” Ai Weiwei similarly depends on a legion of volunteers to help him with his efforts to open up government and make it more answerable to the Chinese people.
Ms. Klayman brings a unique understanding to this story, having lived and worked as a journalist in China for nearly five years – including the years in which the earthquake struck Sichuan and Ai Weiwei fought to bring the full story of that tragedy to life.
“Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” premieres on Monday, February 25 on most PBS stations. WGBH in Boston and WNET New York will air the film at 10 p.m. Eastern and WHMT Albany will show it at midnight. Connecticut’s WEDH may air the show at a later date.
Mark G. McLaughlin is a Connecticut-based free lance journalist and game designer with over 30 years of experience as a ghost-writer and columnist. An author whose first published book was Battles of the American Civil War, and whose games include the Mr. Lincoln’s War set, Mark continues to be enthralled by stories of political courage. To view and pre-order what will be Mark's 16th published design, the American Civil War Naval strategy game Rebel Raiders on the High Seas, visit http://www.gmtgames.com/p-238-rebel-raiders-on-the-high-seas.aspx
Mark’s latest work, the science fiction adventure novel Princess Ryan's Star Marines, is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle e-book formats at http://www.amazon.com/Princess-Ryans-Star-Marines-Save/dp/1466218487/ref...
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