Ai Wei Wei Says The US Is Behaving Like China Rather Than A Free Society

from the that's-not-a-comparison-we-want dept

Ai WeiWei knows a thing or two about how oppressive the Chinese government can be, so when he speaks up about the US government and says that they're now acting like China with regards to the NSA surveillance system, people should sit up and pay attention.
I lived in the United States for 12 years. This abuse of state power goes totally against my understanding of what it means to be a civilised society, and it will be shocking for me if American citizens allow this to continue. The US has a great tradition of individualism and privacy and has long been a centre for free thinking and creativity as a result.

In our experience in China, basically there is no privacy at all – that is why China is far behind the world in important respects: even though it has become so rich, it trails behind in terms of passion, imagination and creativity.
He points out how when the government is spying on everyone all the time -- even if they believe it's for the best of reasons -- the impact on society is extremely detrimental.
When human beings are scared and feel everything is exposed to the government, we will censor ourselves from free thinking. That's dangerous for human development.

In the Soviet Union before, in China today, and even in the US, officials always think what they do is necessary, and firmly believe they do what is best for the state and the people. But the lesson that people should learn from history is the need to limit state power.

If a government is elected by the people, and is genuinely working for the people, they should not give in to these temptations.
Unfortunately, it appears that it may be too late for that.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 3:36pm

    More and more MILK!!!!

    Milk it Mikey, Milk It!!!

    Yes, rip apart everyone else's beliefs, but then run away from discussing your own!

    MILK!!!

    Moo! Cluck! Bawk!

     

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      AC Unknown, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 3:55pm

      Re:

      Shut up, AJ. No one wants to hear your drivel here any more.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 3:59pm

        Re: Re:

        You tryin' to shut me up? You're just like China!!! Censor! Censor!

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 6:08pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's not shutting up if it's derailing.

           

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            The Real Michael, Jun 13th, 2013 @ 4:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Behold, our tax dollars at work. This guy is paid either by the government or some copyright maximalist to troll these forums, to derail the conversation at all costs.

            "He points out how when the government is spying on everyone all the time -- even if they believe it's for the best of reasons -- the impact on society is extremely detrimental."

            The current US government doesn't serve the people's interests. We should throw the bums out.

             

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 4:08pm

        Re: Re:

        But then how else will they achieve an erection in order to masturbate?

         

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      PopeyeLePoteaux, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 4:03pm

      Re:

      Someone is having an orgasm there.

      "More and more MILK!!!!

      Milk it Mikey, Milk It!!!"

      Are you masturbating while writing that?

      *light bulb turns on over my head*

      Now I get it, you have a gay crush on Mike, thats why you are obsessed with milk and milking Mike. Do not worry, I won't judge you by your sexual orientation.

       

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      The Groove Tiger (profile), Jun 13th, 2013 @ 7:21am

      Re:

       

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      Dave, Jun 13th, 2013 @ 10:46am

      Re:

      Has OOTB written all over it. First-rate FUD, mis-direction and total utter manic b*llsh*t with definite traces of insanity thrown in.

       

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    Paul Renault (profile), Jun 12th, 2013 @ 3:38pm

    Thank you, Ai. (Can I call you Ai?)

    It's a particularly American thing to view the whole world as if it's the 'States. And, at the same time, to view the rest of the world as too foreign, too bizarre, so as to be unliveable...

    A long time ago, as a kid, I recall the figurative slap in the face I got when Amnesty International called out the Canadian Government for the pre-trial jailing of some of the Séparatistes during the 'October Crisis' in 1970. The Government had to release them. I've never looked at my country the same since.

    Hopefully, Mr. Weiwei's comments will have the same effect on enough American citizens, so as to effect change for the better.

     

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    Rapnel (profile), Jun 12th, 2013 @ 3:52pm

    Sadly, it would seem that a frighteningly large number of Americans have absolutely no idea what he could possibly be saying. None. Completely clueless.

    The minority will, once again, have to carry these guys home.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 4:00pm

      Re:

      Americans are so stupid! What a bunch of idiots! They aren't awesome like the Techdirtbag Crew of Geniuses.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 5:33pm

      Re:

      "The minority will, once again, have to carry these guys home."

      Wouldn't be the first time. Only a third of the population backed the original American Revolution.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 3:58pm

    "We're just like China!" said the guy who hates America.

     

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    quawonk, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 4:10pm

    it will be shocking for me if American citizens allow this to continue


    He doesn't know the American people very well.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 5:03pm

    "When human beings are scared and feel everything is exposed to the government, we will censor ourselves from free thinking."

    How true this is, I do not have a Facebook acct because I would never share many of my thoughts for fear of how that will be used against me some day.

    As a job candidate my political views might be an issue.
    As an entrepreneur my dislike of some politician might scare away potential investors.
    I can deal with that, I would be unhappy working with those people anyway.

    But as citizen my opposition to the party in power could cost my life.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 5:04pm

    Will US citizens see the Police state they live in when they see it? No. They never had a taste. All those tightly-controlled countries eventually fall. Some - peacefully, like the Eastern Europe ones, sometimes taking half a world with them - like Germany.

    I just hope to find some small, sheltered place for the time it all blows up.

     

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      Rapnel (profile), Jun 12th, 2013 @ 5:44pm

      Re:

      Well, it seems the airports and NY city have been trying to give some people a taste. Along with a few extra anti-camera cops. That's a lot closer to a taste of a police state than a taste of that ice-cream cone you dropped on the road before you even got a lick.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 5:22pm

    Well I linked this story in the comments about the 86 companies defending personal freedom, so I'll just quote my comment:
    Let's face it, the US Constitution is about as valuable as the Communist Manifesto when the core doctrines of a free people are subverted to the governing body. Their actions might have the best interest at heart, but it will inevitable lead to social injustice.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 5:44pm

      Re:

      The United States is just like Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels!!!! Down with the bourgeoisie!!!!!!

       

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        S. T. Stone, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 5:45pm

        Re: Re:

        Calm down there, son. You don’t need five exclamation points where a period will work just the same.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 5:46pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Are you trying to censor me?? CHINA!!! Karl Marx!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 6:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Is it a holiday over there so you're spending more time with the wife? Damn, but you're being more obnoxious than usual. Must be getting a lot of action!

             

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 6:04pm

        Re: Re:

        Honestly, whether it was the rich of Great Britain in Karl Marx's time, or the power of Great Britain in the US's war of independence does it really make a difference? Both were focused on the governing body exploiting the people for their own benefit over the benefit of the public at large in the respective regions. We already have seen though the effects of Marx's revolution on poorer countries when a new government takes the lead, so would you like the same in the US?

         

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    Anonymous, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 6:00pm

    And just where did Snowden go when he left the US?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 6:17pm

      Re:

      Have you ever been to Hong Kong? It's relatively an independent state still from China, though they do collect taxes. Being one of the largest international trade regions in Asia, everyone from Britain in the past and China currently have a hands off approach and treads lightly as to not upset the balance of business taking place. Honestly the place probably most resembles Chiba City from Necromancers just with better food and the criminal element isn't so Hollywood.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 6:37pm

      Re:

      OMG! Snowden is China!!!!

       

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    Wolfy, Jun 12th, 2013 @ 7:20pm

    I was thinking about how the Stasi would feel jealous...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2013 @ 2:54am

    amen! well said!! a great deal of notice should be taken of this. the US is a great condemner of the way things are in China (and other, similar places), the way the people are oppressed by state thinking, then the USA pulls this stunt! makes it and other countries involved as well look like complete plums!!

     

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    Cixelsid (profile), Jun 13th, 2013 @ 3:43am

    Its a sad day...

    when the gun toting paranoid schizophrenics turned out to be right all along.

    Well I guess have fun pitting your AR-15 against an M270 MLRS.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2013 @ 3:52pm

    I have never seen so much flagged comments on Techdirt... Anyway thanks to Ai Weiwei for playing Captain Obvious by showing the obvious American hypocrisy.

     

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