Since his release last June, Ai Weiwei has been forbidden to leave Beijing and compelled to ask police for permission whenever he wants to leave the courtyard compound where he lives and works, on the north-eastern edge of the capital. He has also been the subject of intense surveillance. He is certain that his phones and computers are tapped. And he knows of at least 15 police surveillance cameras mounted within 100 metres of his home. Spotting them is easy, as the police have helpfully chosen to decorate each camera with a bright red lantern.Ai Weiwei is a strange sort of genius, but a genius nonetheless.
Not unreasonably, Mr Ai thought he was being helpful when he resolved to mark the anniversary [of his arrest] by mounting four cameras of his own, covering nearly all his own movements, and streaming the live video footage onto the internet at a website he created, called weiweicam.com.
“I decided to give this, my privacy, as a gift to the people who care about me as a friend, or any people who have any curiosity about me,” he said while sitting in his garden with The Economist on a pleasant spring afternoon.“I wanted to give this gift not only to the public, but also to the Public Security Bureau, because they are so eager to know about me. I wanted them to know what I’m doing in the office, who I meet in this garden, and how I’ve been sleeping,” he said.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Ai Weiwei Puts Himself Under Surveillance
From the Economist, the lastest round of Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei's ongoing battle with the government: