Ai Weiwei Pens Coruscating Article on Beijing for Newsweek


You might have noticed that we’ve been following the ongoing saga of Ai Weiwei — he’s an artist who we greatly admire, both for the quality of his art and for the fact that he’s more courageous than we could ever hope to be. Fresh from three months in detention for no particular reason apart from being a thorn in the Chinese government’s side, Weiwei has gone straight back to being exactly that — in an article about Beijing that he’s penned for the latest issue of Newsweek, Weiwei paints a portrait of China’s capital that’s grim indeed. “Beijing is two cities,” he writes. “One is of power and money… the other … is one of desperation.” He describes his detention in terms that recall Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago — “There are many hidden spots where they put people without identity … they see you or they don’t see you, it doesn’t make the slightest difference” — and ends by comparing the city to Kafka’s The Castle and describing it as a “constant nightmare.” It’s a beautifully written and downright frightening article — you can read it in its entirety here.