Posts Tagged ‘human rights’

Ai Weiwei’s Documentaries Available on YouTube

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

World-renowned artist Ai Weiwei is responsible for bold, iconic works such as the Beijing Olympic Stadium, but he has proven to be just as daring as a political activist. Ai has leveraged his celebrity status to speak openly about human rights abuses in China as few public figures have dared. As Evan Osnos writes in a 2010 profile on Ai in The New Yorker, “His cultural and political footprint is unique in a country where people generally face a choice between thriving within the confines of the system or shouting from the shadows outside it. For the moment, he is attempting to do both, and nobody is at all sure where that leads.” His efforts have not gone unpunished; earlier this month, his million-dollar studio in Shanghai was demolished by the government, who deemed the building illegal (this despite that the government had approved the building in 2008).

As part of his activism, Ai has become a prolific filmmaker documenting ugly cases of human rights violations in China. Below are 19 videos produced by Ai Weiwei Studio that have been posted to YouTube, many of which, as well as others, can be found on Ai Weiwei’s YouTube Channel. The shortest is four-and-a-half-minute long; the longest lasts three hours and 40 minutes. At the moment, most of them are without English subtitles. As YouTube is blocked in China, these videos can be accessed in China through the links listed on this site.


Sixty Years of Unsanctioned Memories in the People’s Republic

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

At the 60th anniversary of the founding of the P.R.C., published a list of fifteen key independent documentaries as their tribute to the celebration. Entitled “Sixty Years of Unsanctioned Memories in the People’s Republic,” these digital video films present vivid pictures of Chinese life, society and landscape rarely seen in government-approved news or the overwhelming reports about China in mainstream western media. They present and reflect on modern Chinese history from the perspective of common citizens and marginalized social groups. German-Jewish political philosopher Hannah Arendt distinguishes private and public realms as “the distinction between things that should be hidden and things that should be shown.” These independent works try to break the line and present the hidden, “private” scenes and stories to the public. The list also links to the synopses of the films, some with English translations.