Alison Klayman

  • Aired:  05/16/11
  •  | Views: 27,261

Alison Klayman explains the Chinese government's possible reasons for beating and imprisoning artist Ai Weiwei. (5:08)

>> WELCOME BACK, EVERYBODY,

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

MY GUEST TONIGHT HAS MADE A

DOCUMENTARY ABOUT CHINESE

ARTIST AY WEIWEI.

>> THERE ARE PARTICULAR

MOMENTS AND PERIODS WHICH

ALLOW A VOICE TO CHANGE THE

WAY THAT PEOPLE THINK.

>> IN SOME CASES THEY CALL

HIM AY SHIN ON-LINE, FULLY

EYE, OR EYE GOD.

>> AYE SHIN WHICH IS LIKE

VENOUS OR SOMETHING, LIKE

THE GOD 6 LOVE.

>> IT'S A LOVE THING.

>> BASICALLY THEY CONSIDER

HIM A GOD.

>> IT'S A VERY DANGEROUS

DESCRIPTION IN CHINA.

>> Stephen: PLEASE WELCOME

ALLISON CLAMAN.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

HEY, ALLISON.

ALLISON, LET'S EDUCATE THE

PEOPLE HERE A LITTLE BIT AS

TO WHO IWAIWAY IS.

PUT UP THE FIRST SLIDE.

>> THAT IS PROBABLY THE WAY

HE MAYBE BEST KNOWN IN THE

WEST WHICH IS HELPING DESIGN

THE BIRDS NEST OLYMPIC

STADIUM CAN.

BECAUSE OF HIS OUTSPOKENNESS

HE DISTANCED HIMSELF FROM

THE OLYMPICS.

>> Stephen: IS THAT WHERE

THE TROUBLE STARTED FOR HIM.

>> THAT MAY BE WHERE THE

TROUBLE STARTED.

BUT IT GOT REALLY BIG WHEN

HE WROTE ABOUT THAT ON HIS

BLOG.

AND WHEN HE DID ACTIVISM

AROUND THE EARTHQUAKE IN MAY

2008 AND WANTED TO

COMMEMORATE THE CHILDREN WHO

DIED IN THAT EARTHQUAKE.

AND HE STARTEDDED CITIZENS

INVESTIGATION TO COLLECT

THOSE NAMES.

AND YOU KNOW, THAT

EVENTUALLY LED TO THEM

SHUTTING OFF HIS BLOG.

THAT LEAD TO THEM EVEN

BEATING HIM.

HE NEEDED EMERGENCY BRAIN

SURGERY.

>> Stephen: LET'S GO TO THE

NEXT SLIDE HERE, JIM.

>> THIS IS HIS STUDIO.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

THAT'S A NEW STUDIO,

ACTUALLY THE GOVERNMENT

INVITED HIM TO BUILD IN

SHANGHAI.

RIGHT WHEN IT WAS FINISHED,

THEY WENT IN AND TORE IT

DOWN.

>> Stephen: WHAT IS IT ABOUT

HIM THAT EVEN WELCOMES THIS

KIND OF ATTENTION FROM THE

GOVERNMENT.

BECAUSE IN AMERICA WE KNOW

TO IGNORE ARTISTS IF THEY'RE

SERIOUS IN ANY WAY.

BECAUSE IN AMERICA SERIOUS

ARTISTS ARE A COMPLETE JOKE.

AND SO WHY OVER THERE DO

THEY TAKE HIM SO SERIOUSLY?

>> MAYBE BECAUSE HE DOESN'T

TAKE HIMSELF SO SERIOUSLY.

HE KNOWS HOW TO REACH OUT TO

PEOPLE.

HOW TO CONNECT TO PEOPLE.

HE'S A REAL COMMUNICATOR AND

HE HAS A REALLY BIG

FOLLOWING ON-LINE.

AND I THINK IN CHINA,

ESPECIALLY RIGHT NOW IN THIS

REALLY BIG CRACKDOWN, I MEAN

THEY ARE TRYING TO GO AT

ANYBODY WHO IS ABLE TO, YOU

KNOW, GATHER A GROUP AROUND

THEM OR BASICALLY FREE-- .

>> Stephen: WHY SUCH A

CRACKDOWN RIGHT NOW?

>> MAYBE HAS SOMETHING TO DO

WITH THE ARAB SPRING, YOU

KNOW, WORRIED ABOUT THE

REVOLUTION IN THEIR OWN

BACKYARD.

>> Stephen: BUT THEY DO NOT

HAVE ARABS IN CHINA.

>> THEY CERTAINLY HAVE, YOU

KNOW, ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE IN

CHINA THERE SAY REALLY BIG

DIVERSITY OF OPINION IN

CHINA.

THAT IS WHY I WANTED TO MAKE

A MOVIE ABOUT HIM IN THE

FIRST PLACE.

>> Stephen: IS HE KNOWN AS

SOMEBODY WHO OPPOSES THE

GOVERNMENT?

HAS HE BEEN SORT OF

REVOLUTIONARY AGAINST THE

REVOLUTION?

>> HE HAS DEFINITELY BEEN

KNOWN AS SOMEONE WHO IS NOT

AFRAID TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST

THE GOVERNMENT TO GO THROUGH

THE SYSTEM, TO SHOW ITS

FLAWS.

AND TO JUST BE PROVOCATIVE

ON-LINE.

>> HOW HAS HE STAYED OUT OF

TROUBLE THIS LONG BECAUSE HE

HAS HAD SOME OTHER COUNTRY,

RIGHT?

AND HE SAID IT IN CHINESE

WHICH IS EVEN HARDER.

(LAUGHTER)

HOW HAS HE GOTTEN AWAY WITH

WHAT HE HAS DONE SO FAR?

>> WELL, THAT WAS THE BIG

QUESTION OVER THE TWO YEARS

THAT I SPENT WITH HIM,

RIGHT.

BUT HIS ANSWER TO THAT IS

ALWAYS WELL, WHAT EXACTLY

DID I GET AWAY WITH.

I MEAN LOOK, I HAVE BEEN

BEATEN.

MY BLOG HAS BEEN SUT DOWN.

>> Stephen: HE'S ALIVE I

SUPPOSE IS THE QUESTION CAN.

STILL ALIVE.

>> WELL, DO YOU REALLY THINK

THEY'RE THAT RUTHLESS?

>> Stephen: DID YOU SEE THE

OPENING CEREMONY OF THE

OLYMPICS?

THOSE PEOPLE JUST WHAT THEY

DID TO THOSE DRUMS WAS-- U

SHOW THE NEXT PHOTO.

>> IN IS HIS ICONNOCLASTIC

NATURE.

WHAT IS HE HOLDING THERE.

>> HE'S HOLDING WHAT HE

CLAIMS DO BE AN UN.

VERY OLD, I THINK IT'S

PRETTY CLEAR THIS ISN'T

WORTH DETAINING SOMEONE FOR

44 DAYS WHICH IS WHAT HAS

HAPPENED SO FAR.

>> Stephen: WHAT CAN

AMERICANS DO TO PROTEST THIS

THAT DOES NOT INVOLVE

ANGERING CHINA OR REMINDING

THEM THAT WE OWE THEM A LOT

OF MONEY?

(LAUGHTER)

>> IT'S IN CHINA'S INTEREST

TO NOT BE DOING THIS.

IT DOESN'T-- IT'S NOT JUST

THAT IT DOESN'T LOOK GOOD

FOR CHINESE.

BUT IT'S NOT GOOD FOR

CHINESE SOCIETY TO CRUSH ALL

KINDS OF DIFFERENT OPINIONS.

HE'S REALLY NOT THAT

RADICAL.

HE'S NOT CALLING FOR AN

OVERTHROW OF THE GOVERNMENT.

HE'S JUST CALLING FOR PEOPLE

TO SPEAK OUT FOR PEOPLE TO

EXPRESS THEMSELVES, FOR THE

GOVERNMENT TO BE MORE

TRANSPARENT.

>> Stephen: ALLISON CLAMAN,

A DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER.

THE DOCUMENTARY IS NEVER

SORRY, LOOK FOR IT THIS

FALL.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR