Ai Weiwei

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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.

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The American experience influenced my understanding of individuality, basic human rights, freedom of expression and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

   Freedom
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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.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

   Art
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China is an old nation with a colourful history. Its booming economy has triggered an appetite and a curiosity around the world for its art and culture, one that continues to grow. I can, however, tell people that it is a show with no actor.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

   Art
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A nation that has no music and no fairytales is a tragedy.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

   Music
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Historically, China is not a nation of sportsmen. We traditionally put more emphasis on being close to nature than pushing endlessly to excel. A philosophy that values tranquil contemplation of the landscape cannot easily be adapted to the Olympic slogan of 'higher, stronger, faster.'

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

   Nature
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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.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

   Leadership
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Beijing's Olympics were very grand - they were trying to throw a party for the world, but the hosts didn't enjoy it. The government didn't care about people's feelings because it was trying to create an image.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

   Government
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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.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

   Giving
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I'm most embarrassed at my art shows, even though I don't show it.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

   Art
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Recently I danced in a video spoof of the song 'Gangnam Style,' and it was quickly banned across multiple Chinese online video platforms. But the story still traveled all over the world, carried in hundreds of international media reports.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

   Amazing
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I don't think it's worth discussing new directions in the context of Chinese art - there were no old directions, either. Chinese art has never had any clear orientation.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

   Art
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Because Great Britain has self-confidence, it doesn't need a monumental Olympics.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

   Great
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Because of the economic crisis, China and the United States are bound together. This is a totally new phenomenon, and nobody will fight for ideology anymore. It's all about business.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

   Business
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I'm always followed by two or three cars and have police around. Even walking in the park, you see them taking photos behind the bushes and trying to videotape everything.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

   Amazing
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So maybe there are three parts in my life - earlier background living in exile in Xinjiang in a very political circumstance, then later the United States from 24 to 36 years old. I was quite equipped with liberal thinking. Then the Internet. If there is no Internet, of course, I cannot really exercise my opinion or my ideas.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

   Life
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Since the global economic crisis began, the change in global attitudes is clear to see - and I think it is pitiful. Barack Obama came to China and he is probably the only president of the United States never to mention the words 'human rights' in public.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

   Change
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Now the British are coming. I think Cameron should ask the Chinese government not to make people 'disappear' or to jail them merely because they have different opinions.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

   Government
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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.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

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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.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

   Strength
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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.

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

   Experience