"I am shocked by the US surveillance operation" - former Chinese dissidentSubmitted by VietVet4Liberty on Tue, 06/11/2013 - 20:29
This heart-felt commentary and challenge comes from former Chinese artist and dissident, Ai Weiwei. He co-designed the "Birds Nest" stadium for the Beijing Olympics. These paragraphs represent his unique perspective, having been persecuted in China, and having lived in the United States for a number of years. His words express tremendous wisdom, derived from his life real-life experiences. They are so dripping with passion that I initially felt it necessary to present his words in their entirety here on the DP, instead of just a few paragraphs and link. Truly they deserve front page placement.
About the author: "Ai Weiwei is one of China's leading contemporary artists. He helped to establish the experimental artists' East Village in Beijing. As an artistic consultant for design, he collaborated with the Swiss architecture firm Herzog and de Meuron in designing the Beijing National Stadium, the "Bird's Nest". But since then he has distanced himself from the state and Olympics, becoming an increasingly outspoken advocate of China's political reform and refusing to attend the opening ceremony."
The Guardian, Tuesday 11 June 2013 09.30 EDT: "Even though we know governments do all kinds of things I was shocked by the information about the US surveillance operation, Prism. To me, it's abusively using government powers to interfere in individuals' privacy. This is an important moment for international society to reconsider and protect individual rights.
"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.
"We live under different kinds of legal conditions – in the west and in developed nations there are other laws that can balance or restrain the use of information if the government has it. That is not the case in China, and individuals are completely naked as a result. Intrusions can completely ruin a person's life, and I don't think that could happen in western nations. . ."
"To limit power is to protect society. It is not only about protecting individuals' rights but making power healthier.
Civilisation is built on that trust and everyone must fight to defend it, and to protect our vulnerable aspects – our inner feelings, our families. We must not hand over our rights to other people. No state power should be given that kind of trust. Not China. Not the US."
Full article in the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/11/nsa-surv...