Ai Weiwei: China Will Never Beat Internet

Censorship only builds pressure in Internet age, warns famous artist

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 16, 2012 10:56 AM CDT | Updated Apr 16, 2012 11:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – Authoritarian societies are all about propaganda and control, but the Internet has destroyed both of those pillars, writes the famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in the Guardian. Unlike Russia's glasnost, China never really opened ideologically to the West, only practically. Then came the Internet, and thanks to blogs and microblogs—whether a silly post about breakfast or serious discussions of the news—people in China for the first time have gotten used to expressing themselves. "People have started to feel the breeze," writes Ai.

"The government computer has one button: delete," he says, but it does not really matter because "censorship by itself doesn't work." Ai says that censorship is like building a dam. "China may seem quite successful in its controls, but it has only raised the water level," he writes. All the water is still there, growing ever higher, building the pressure. The only way to relieve the pressure is to turn off the Internet, and that is not possible in today's economy. "The Internet is uncontrollable. And if the Internet is uncontrollable, freedom will win. It's as simple as that." Click for Sergey Brin's take on why the Internet is in danger.

Artist Ai Weiwei holds a webcam that he was reportedly ordered by Chinese police to disconnect, at his home in Beijing on April 5, 2012.
Artist Ai Weiwei holds a webcam that he was reportedly ordered by Chinese police to disconnect, at his home in Beijing on April 5, 2012.   (Getty Images)
Artist Ai Weiwei holds a webcam that he was reportedly ordered by Chinese police to disconnect, at his home in Beijing on April 5, 2012.
Artist Ai Weiwei holds a webcam that he was reportedly ordered by Chinese police to disconnect, at his home in Beijing on April 5, 2012.   (Getty Images)
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