Ai Weiwei, a beneficiary of the rise of China?

14 May


Ai Weiwei, a Chinese contemporary artist, active in sculpture, installation, architecture, curating, photography, film, and social, political and cultural criticism. He also co-operated with Swiss architects named Herzog and Meuron as the artistic consultant on the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics. As a political activist, he has been highly and openly critical of the Chinese government’s position on democracy and human rights (Artda, 2008).

Tracing back at the end of 2011, it probably be regarded as Ai Weiwei and other Chinese dissidents’ rewarding year. After Ai Weiwei had a lawsuit due to his free speech which against Chinese Communist Party, he became very famous in the West, and got various awards. Recently, Ai Weiwei was ranked the third place the U.S. Time magazine Person of the Year award. After Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, Ai Weiwei reached another honorary peak in the West; this can be seen as a miracle that never happened in the non-Western celebrities (Shan, 2011).

Ai, Liu and Hu jia has been the outstanding person in China, especially Liu. After they got the return from the West, the achievements are unique and not reached by any other developing countries over the past few decades. Hong (2011) purposes that the modern China has forced them to stand on the special position where not dangerous and lonely as the period before opening up and reform, or politically discriminated by the some developed countries if they are not intend to follow the will and interests from the developed countries.


Due to the China’s strategic position in the world, especially the rapid rise of China recently, Ai Weiwei and other followers are the sources from the value of western politics. In another word, they are beneficial from the rise of China (Hong, 2011). Indeed, just like the people from the mainstream society, they get different rewards or welfares from the opening up, those dissidents are also facing the same problem. But Ai Weiwei is the one who is the most envious in the dissidents. In the few month of arrested, Ai became the big celebrity suddenly all over the world, both his reputation and art works are increased rapidly. The days he was arrested in the jail become the valuable resources that can be sold or stored.

At least Ai Weiwei was beneficial from the rise of China; in any case that other ordinary Chinese people cannot reach the efforts. He is one of the lucky one who gains the benefits from the development of China. In the early year of 1993, after he went back to China from America, he was the same as other ordinary artist that did not engage in the high-valued of performance art. However, due to his involvement of anti-establishment, Shan (2011) comments that Ai Weiwei created a sort of art that combined with politics, therefore become successful and excellent.

Western politicians and artists also support largely on Ai Weiwei, he therefore became the one who has been controversial in China but treated as the potentially outstanding artists in west. China has been struggling to make the world-class artists but now they come out without big efforts. This can be also seen as rise of Ai Weiwei is faster than China. Actually, the rise of Ai Weiwei and china is inseparable. This is because if China still remains underprivileged, or not becoming the second-largest economy entity which has the great global influences, Ai Weiwei may not likely to become famous, and the west may not support him in such a way (Shan, 2011). If in the case that China remains underprivileged, there will be no two Nobel peace prize winners against Chinese system just within 2 years.


In my view that China’s rise is the well-being of almost everyone, including the people who intend to removal of the advocates of the Chinese system. Although the proposition is difficult to achieve, it is still a collection of Chinese internal discontent, and it satisfied the interests of external forces which may against China’s interests. Therefore its worth seems like in the stock market that being magnified (Shan, 2011). China must be strong, and there should be some problems at the same time. In addition, the ‘hope’ of defeating China is the enabler of supporting the dissidents such as Ai Weiwei and Hu jia in the necessity of history (Li, 2011). Ai Weiwei’s interests are connected with the power or influences of China, and survive among the game of China and the west.

It is quite interesting that the by-product of the rise of China has become a valuable topic in the world-wide. However, in fact that the dissidents are not able to change the fate of China, and will be even eventually proven to be the floating bubble in the tide of China’s rise.

Ps: This is my personal view of this issue, and if you would like to know more about Ai Weiwei, you are welcome to visiting his own website:, and watch the documentary of ‘Never Sorry’ by Alison Klayman.



Artda (2008) Ai Weiwei. [Online] Available at: <Assessed 14 May 2013>.

Hong. T (2011), The west has given too much asylum to Ai Weiwei. [Online] Available at:

<Assessed 14 May 2013>.

Le. H (2011), Too much special protection has been given by the West. [Online] Available at:

<Assessed 14 May 2013>.

Shan. R,P (2011), The abandon of Ai Weiweis is the main stream. [Online] Available at:

<Assessed 14 May 2013>.

Shan. R,P (2011), Ai Weiwei is the beneficiary of the rise of China. [Online] Available at:

<Assessed 14 May 2013>.


One Response to “Ai Weiwei, a beneficiary of the rise of China?”

  1. ab25g11 May 15, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

    Ai Weiwei’s art illustrates the political issues faced in China to an idealised western perspective. His exceptionally famous and emotive work has allowed many in the West to access information on political contentions within this secretive and highly complex nation. As a dissident of the CCP state Ai Weiwei maintains reporting links with the west, often through blogging sites to strengthen his voice against the government as well as his success on a global scale. A few days ago the artist was caught in a street fight between Han restaurant workers and Tibetan street vendors. This video is now shown on the BBC website among others, showing the international capabilities of Ai Weiwei’s influence. The now celebrity status of Ai Weiwer has allowed greater global access to such images, which would otherwise be censored by the Chinese state and never reach international media sites. This freedom is clearly aided by the capabilities of social network sites and micro-blogging, allowing China citizens to voice such issues.
    Link below to video:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: