Ai Weiwei: Officeholders ‘Have to Crush Other Voices’

Ai Weiwei during an interview in April 2012. (Courtesy Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images)

Though Chinese officials are still forbidding Ai Weiwei from leaving the country, the artist nevertheless had an action-packed weekend, taking to YouTube to slam government corruption in a new video that was presented at an event in Basel, Switzerland, where the international art world has gathered for the 43rd edition of the Art Basel fair.

According to the Associated Press, Mr. Ai declared in the video that “people in [political] office just try to maintain so-called stability to protect their own profit, or their own interest. They have to crush other voices. There’s no real communication or discussion.” It’s among his harshest condemnations of Chinese bureaucracy in recent months.

YouTube is, of course, banned in China, but the video was somehow uploaded to the video-sharing service and played at the event by a nonprofit called Cinema for Peace Foundation that  included a screening of the soon-to-be-released documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., recently applied for a visa to bring Mr. Ai to the United States in advance of his October exhibition there. A Hirshhorn rep recently told Lee Rosenbaum that the museum is “optimistic” he would be able to make the trip. One imagines that these new comments won’t help that cause.

Ai Weiwei: Officeholders ‘Have to Crush Other Voices’