Ai Weiwei: The Internet vs. The Chinese Government


Free information and communication on Internet
is forbidden in China. So you’re facing so-called a great firewall to block all the
major international Internet servers. And within China you have 100,000 Internet police
just sitting there delete all blog or whatever the information they think we cannot appreciate
about. But still, the Chinese twitter and Chinese blog still offers a certain kind of
freedom this nation never had before. And also, daily when the event’s happening people
start to make comments on it, which build up a very strong platform for civil opinions
and discussions, which already completely change the landscape of the political situation.
I think those technology platform constantly put the government on trial. And every event,
every policy they make will be people will laugh about it, and they will make fun about
it. This is amazing for younger generation. I think Internet technology can lead more
freedom in everywhere, especially in China. A state like China or other authoritarian
society, to maintain this kind of control is to censor and to block the freedom of expression.
Once that is not possible, then to maintain this kind of control is impossible. So obviously
Internet is the answer to achieve a civil society or to get young people to be engaged,
to be involved and to be informed, and to freely associate and communicate with other
people. This is truly a miracle gift from the human struggle. I think it is so beautiful,
and I think it’s beyond the imagination.

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. The idea of tor is to access something anonymously and securely through another location. You first have to connect to that other location.
    The path from a sweedish server to a british site may be open but if you are trapped behind a fence in china it makes it a moot point.

  2. There are a lot of westerners who live in and grow up in areas with very little ethnic diversity. I can see those people having trouble even though I don't.

  3. You're probably the only one. My god… dude, do you even know what RACE-ISM means anymore? Stop using racism under every potential veil of over-generalization. I found his English superb but he was muttering quite a bit. We use subtitles for some actors English actors with a dialect that doesn't mesh well with our hearing… we sure are a bunch of racists. C'mon man.

  4. They're free to criticize… up to a point, and that's already a denigration of the freedom of speech. If Chinese people are cool with it, then that's fine. Just trying to give you an "American" perspective on the matter.

  5. Of course you're right. But there is nothing to be proud about. It's just an accident of birth. He could just say "I'm lucky or I'm happy". I just find it arrogant^^ Let's hope one day it'll change in China.

  6. those subtitles are rather insulting… I could understand what he was saying perfectly well :/. It would make sense if he was speaking chinese…

    Was anyone really forced to read the subtitles? christ…

  7. You're not the only one. Racist might no be the right word but along those lines yea for sure. i mean allow people to use the CC's if they want but don't hard code the subtitles in like that, incredibly insulting

  8. That my friend is called natural selection.. People like that should fail in life and hopefully the next generation can see the results of his ignorance and choose a different path of independent thought based on something besides blind fear. Clearly there is some truth in what he says, a warmongering and incredibly greedy culture however his words are laced with so much fear that that is all he is able to see. Usually the only way out of a fear spiral like that is a hard boune off rock bottom

  9. Ai Wei Wei says it: "beyond the imagination".
    No-one has predicted the internet. No-one was able to fathom this giant, impossible conglomerate of technologies.
    That is why it is so free: No-one was able to mess with its development. No-one saw the potential. Communication, yes, but the implications of blogs, twitter, video streams – those were far off into the future.
    No-one – even in the industry – thought that it would go beyond some academics because no-one had computers at home.
    Mindblowing.

  10. yeah. the nation that mucks up the world (which they kindly share with us), has no law agents whaling (on any of the whales including the blue whale which is on the brink of extinction), also has a law that you can only have one child (although more understandable).

  11. The human struggle is beautiful!
    This is an invitation to see an artist theory on the physics of light and time
    This is based on just two postulates
    1 Is that the quantum wave particle function Ψ or probability function represents the forward passage of time itself
    2 Is that Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle ∆×∆p×≥h/4π that is formed by the w-function is the same uncertainty we have with any future event within our own ref-frame that we can interact with turning the possible into the actual

  12. Please delete this comment, your trying to spread ignorance. If you think the US has the same kind of hold on the internet in America you're wrong. Yes they're trying but to compare this to China, and ontop of it call a man a "political mouthpiece" whens hes done more for people than you'll probably ever do in a life time. Just please delete your comment,.

  13. Rather than looking at China's privacy and press rights objectively and separately. You seem to be comparatively evaluating China in relation to other nations, starting with the idea of China not being as strict or just as strict as others censorship rather than arriving at that conclusion.

  14. It might not be on the same ballpark, but the US government is sure sending some longing looks in the Chinese ballparks' direction 🙂

  15. No government, with a population as large as China's, can even hope to completely block out the web sites that they do not like. Things are on their way…

  16. i really dont think that would be even possible, becouse the internet was created like a countermeasure against a nuclear war so comunications never got cut, it was designed to work without liders or centers of control, and now that has grow so far even the borders help us becouse there is gonna to be always a country with out restrictions for political advantages and all the servers will be there working with out the laws of other countries so its technically impossible prision the internet

  17. China was a place filled with sages and big thinkers. Today, all we can think is that the place is a gigantic prison. I really don't think this is good for people and even for the country. Give people freedom and they will do more with less, just because they can.

  18. I must agree with Ai Weiwei that people should be given more freedom but I feel that there is still a need for internet police to "patrol" the internet and remove acts of bullying.

    With so much slandering and cyber-bullying on the internet, we need an authority to prevent the bullies from going online and harass the victims.
    That's is just my opinion. Please don't flame me 🙂 I may have gone off track here.

  19. I think that what we need is to educate the people in order to grow mentally stronger and ignore bullies. Besides, I believe the current legislation in most countries already has more than enough provision to punish acts of aggression, e.g. defamation. There's no need to prevent one from going online. Just punish the wrongdoers accordingly. Otherwise we may give too much power to the wrong people and it will become a police state just like China…

  20. China is turning more and more into a South Korean type of society, and becoming more international and welcoming. Im sure in a 100 years it will be a very different country than what it once was

    A good video and this applies not just to China but the rest of the world that is held back by dictators and such

  21. @priscillaxoxoxox i know exactly what goes on out there, but when a country is growing at this rate you have to put restrictions on certain aspects, free speech in the future when china is stable enough, sure. but its impossible to manage a billion people posting bs about the government online to the world if you dont put on certain restrictions. in the long run, this is the best route to take. ppl tend to forget we dont live in a perfect world

  22. @priscillaxoxoxox im going to make an assumption your a us citizen brainwashed by the media, your even more ignorant than you think i am to just believe the sugar coated news. as i said, different countries run in different ways depending on what stage their government is in . theres far more important stuff to b dealing with than not being able to post comments online

  23. @qwertyuiopaaaaaaa7 ill thoughtout comment haha? china n us r at different stages, just because us allows something doesnt mean china n the rest of the world should allow it too, just because its good for the us doesnt mean its good for every1 else. us only allow 'free speech' cos its done its dirty business eg making blacks slaves.. to get to where its at now

  24. @qwertyuiopaaaaaaa7 i have to make muself clear that i DO agree with free speech on the internet because thats the best way to not let the government have complete control, but my point is that china has much more important issues to deal with right now and allowing free speech now is way too early in the development stage. theyre gradually allowing more freedom,my problem is us citisenzs expect china to go from their level of freedom to us level of freedom in 1 step (huge differemce)

  25. Go get your hearing checked. He's speaks better english than my Chinese Teacher does. I need a live-sentence translator for her. SHE is not understandable. This guys' is great.

  26. without a doubt. I don't know what it is… people say the world is getting more and more multi-cultural but no-one actually seems to be trying. 🙁

  27. Oh that is fair enough. I meant to say it would make sense if he was speaking chinese or the listener had bad hearing. my apologies 🙂

  28. i think that all vid's from bigthink should be subtitled because i'm sure there are also deaf people who'd be interested in reading what these guys have to say

  29. 'Human struggle" generally means a great accomplishment of mankind that could only have been reached through much struggle. Which the internet is. The internet is only possible through a huge accumulation of knowledge from past to present to have been possible. So i wonder why you even question his choice of words.

    But even so, why don't you ignore petty little details and focus on the main message,

  30. Don't see the point of the subtitles/text trascript on screen, his English is very good and I understood all of it without it.
    bit patronising by the video producer i think…..

  31. I am a high school in the country same as the man showing in the video. Firewall is really boring, I use some special way to overcome that firewall. I am preparing everything to attend a good university in U.S. I am here because i want to practice my listening. Go to America for FREEDOM!!

  32. You're entitled to your own beliefs, though I have to disagree with you. America is not supposed to be a perfect place, nor is it supposed to be a place where we act like it is one. America is, in my opinion, the collection of ideas of everyone who lives, and actively participates, in the progress of the nation. There is nothing wrong with the U.S. system, it is the people in the system that need to be dealt with. Though, I doubt many foreigners actually do more than read propaganda and judge.

  33. Unfortunately with the events of earlier today America and it's greatness for FREEDOM has been trampled. Over the next 4 years our government will gain more and more control over our everyday lives and we too will soon have internet police much like China.

  34. The chinese themselves tent to have a great depths of philosophy, but I think that the beards have a mystical grass root that architects this wisdom.

  35. First off I would like to start off by saying this: your negativity continually depresses me on the view of some people in the world, some people like you. The original argument was that the "US was fucked up" and that it was better than China. If you'd actually think you'd realize what a privilege it is to have freedom of speech, what a privilege it is to be able to be saying what you've said. Now you bring up the court system? Tell me, can you think of a better system?

  36. Ai Weiwei is an awesome guy. Not only does he have the beard of a Chinese-Lumberjack but he took pictures of himself flipping off major government institutes and structures. You're awesome!

  37. Still lots of Chinese think Mao Zedong has been helpful to their country. Really? Mao threw China into the dark ages all the way up until his death. He killed 70 million people and the population ballooned to the hundreds of millions. Then look at Taiwan. Chiang was an asshole, but at least he could run a country competing with the world.

  38. This subtitles reminds me of the character "Meera" in "Little Britain", an Indian woman, whom is never understood by "Marjorie", even though she speaks good English. Or maybe anglophones have more trouble to deal with the accents than people who have English as a second language?

  39. I respect Weiwei for his political activism, but I think if he is attempting to compare China to the US, he overestimates our freedom.
    The NSA (National Security Agency) of the US government has massive information centers which sift through an estimated 95% of American communications, as well as international communications moving through the US. This monitoring includes internet, email, phone calls, text messages; the FBI also monitors mail.

    The "free world" is a myth.

  40. Agree on the deaf note (no pun intended)… but I didn't need the captions to understand this guy, he speaks fine english imo.

  41. First they make the Great "Physical" Wall. Now they've set their eyes on making the Great Internet Firewall. China, the country of Walls.

  42. He's so right.
    I have a project about China and its laws, and therefore i also have to know about the freedom of expression, and this video is just amazing. I'm so interested in China and its future, so this is a very good video.

  43. Fair point.
    My point is I don't think bigthink were taking people who are hard of hearing into consideration when they subtitled this one video.

  44. Lol sometime those don't translate correctly, it is going based off of sound, and it often does not make any sense. Try it some time.

  45. You do realize that "Transcribe Audio" is different from the uploader-typed captions right? There are two different options under there.

  46. As a foreigner like me it's also pretty good, because I can read english better than understand it when someone's talking.

  47. True, but that's not his point and you know it. The subtitles were not put there as a first attempt to reach out to the deaf community. His objection is perfectly valid.

  48. the communist chinese goverment will fall, there will be blood, and the whole world will be dragged to an entirely new economical reality. that's inevitable and everything the unholy alliance of the US and China's goverment will not be able to sustain because the people will always bring their opressors down.
    I sense a revolution in the next 25 years in China, and no it will not be the quiet one, it will be a one to shake the very foundations of all nations.

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