The music video shows the "Free Ai Weiwei" protest in Hong Kong organized by an activist group called "Artist Citizen" in May 2011. Ai Weiwei, a prominent artist-activist involved in the investigation of bean dregs construction of school buildings which killed thousands of children during the Sichuan Earthquake in China in 2008, was detained by the Chinese government for over two months from April to July 2011 under the pretext of the crackdown of Jasmine protest.
The music video, devoted to Ai Weiwei, is produced by PJ. Gonzalez in collaboration with Frog King. Below is the video's lyrics:
Creative message container
Human message container
This is a song for Ai Weiwei a friend of us all
You know he's been released
well, he may be out of prison but he's not free
He´s been silenced!
2011, year of the jasmine
a government crackdown sweeps up
bloggers and writers and human rights lawyers
but the son of the poet speaks on
Free Weiwei, free Ai Weiwei
"If there is one person who is still not free, then I´m not"
"China is a land with no truth, no justice and no soul""
"This is your country, you can do whatever you want to"
"It´s impossible to stop freedom
Freedom is like the wind"
On April the third, 2011
Weiwei the artist was detained
as part of a clampdown on dissident voices.
Now Weiwei is missing
so, speak out!
Free Weiwei, free Ai Weiwei
Freedom of expression, many people die in this battle
Let us raise our voices in honor of the silenced ones
Silenced by imprisonment, censorship or travel restrictions
"It´s impossible to stop freedom
Freedom is like the wind"
Break down the great firewall of China
Bring down the great firewall of China
Tear down the great firewall of China
Hundreds of thousands of online signatures were gathered across the world
This campaign, yeah, has been quite a ride
Wanna thank you, everybody
It was worth a try
Let Creative spirit fly!
Let Creative spirit fly!
Fly, fly, fly...
Let Creative spirit fly!
Ai Weiwei must now be granted his full liberty
and not be held in illegal house arrest
as has been the pattern with so many others
recently released from arbitrary detention
The silenced ones...
It is vital that the international outcry over Ai Weiwei
be extended to those activists
still languishing in secret detention
or charged with inciting subversion
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression
If this is inciting subversion of state power
Then I wanna incite subversion
Don´t forget to sign the petition to paint green that red line!
Program named "Digital Revolution" produced by RTHK, introduced www.inmediahk.net and Inmedia's citizen reporters Ip, Chu and Shek.The Subtitle is translated into English by Florence Lai.
Original show from RTHK
More on www.inmediahk.net
The American magazine Wired gives a definition for New Media, "Broadcasting from all people to all people". Some people regard this new broadcasting model as revolution because it lets the internet to emerge many independent alternative media to breakthrough the information monopolization of mainstream media. In recent year, Hong Kong has appeared many independent new media, inmediahk.net is one of them.
(Ip said) In fact, we published independent publication in 90s. The main reason was some voices were hardly reported by the mainstream media. Until 2000, new electronic media technology has spring up, we think we can manipulate these new technology. Perhaps it can reach new audience or even produce greater influence, therefore we has established Hong Kong inmediahk.net. In the past, when we published magazines or periodicals, usually we set the features and topics then published them after discussion. Later, we find the characteristics of internet are more than that and even needn't do in this way. Because basically there is no limitation of the publish time, in order to publish online anytime it needs a Content Management System. When the content is uploaded in the internet, it has to follow a certain format, authors can upload their works easily because upload the articles is as easy as filling form. As there are certain formats, it facilitates the readers to read and search for different information, using the Content Management System, writer is no longer restricted by the publish time. All he has to do is to categorize his articles, he can upload it anytime by himself and add some related tags. Netizen can use the same system to search the information conveniently.
Ip Yam Chong states that the idea of Content Management System is obtained from some oversea independent media websites. In late 90s, oversea independent websites has raised out a very important concept that is "Citizen Reporter".
(Chu said) A citizen can explore issues surrounding him to step in some policy discussion, even influence the government decision. Being a reporter is the action to carry out or intervene module, the so-called intervention of citizen reporter means they, as citizens, report issues that they care of, in order to arouse the public concern, hope that can affect the policy discussion. The Seattle incident in 1999 was one of the example.
(Chu said) In 1999 WTO was held in Seattle, it was the first time that a large number of citizen reporters to step in. Meanwhile, the popularize of internet allows individual participation, the knowledge of expression and technique are greatly leveled down. At the same time, the concept of citizen reporters has spread out. I remember my first time to do the citizen report in greater effort was the once at the beginning in 2006. At that time my university Chinese University Hong Kong was cutting a few trees in the campus, the only thing I could do is I had the feeling there was something wrong in the action, so we tried to understand the issue and published a magazine, pointed out the related problem and prevented these trees being cut.
Chu has been a citizen reporter for few years, he especially concerns urban development, "There are many levels in this issue, it can be as large as China-Hong Kong integration, the mass infrastructure such as Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, begin with the government announcement, then turn into a positive news, such a non-discussed, non- challenge situation is really astonishing. Therefore we carried the on-site research and report, thus this express railway incident, no matter me or people around can explore many news. Chu Hoi Dik and a group of citizen reporters have carried out a series of reports about the express railway, hence exposed its questions led to the social movement which demonstrated the power of citizen reporters. Some people said when citizen reporter released its reports at the new media, their works seem to confront the mainstream reporters. However, Chu disagree with it, "I don't use the term "confront" because the citizen reporter widens the spectrum of journalists or news workers. There are many different kinds of news workers, citizen reporter only focus on the position of spectrum."
Shek who works in trade union is also a citizen reporter, his background leads him to contact with more grass root citizens. (Shek said) "When I participating the trade union function, I can get in touch with varies groups of friends and to get known with some neighbors. During our conversation, I can know deeply about their background." One day, Shek joined his trade union to protest for the minimum wage issue, which led him to write a related article. (Shek said) "With more interaction, I found that their stories or experience
were seldom reported comprehensively in the mainstream media. Being a (citizen) reporter, I really hope to express the complete ideas and story of the interviewees to the readers.
The following interview with Ai Wei Wei was conducted in April 12, 2010 by inmediahk.net and AJ.hk. In the interview Ai talked about his activism regarding the Sichuan Earthquake, his comments on Hong Kong democratic movement and Internet culture. The Subtitle is translated into English by Florence Lai.
Q: We are a self-run online radio called AJ.hk. We know that it is an invaluable opportunity,that is why we would like to talk to you...
Ai: Sure, please.
Q: We notice that you are very concern with the issues of the earthquake. Because we are also users of Twitter (Twitterers), we see you are posting and updating their (the victim’s) names on Twitter everyday, we know that you really care about the issue and persist over it. What motivates you to do this?
Ai: To me, China in the past few decades...are covering up some fundamental facts that have happened. Then what’s the worst case...when the government has no trust on the people. That is, at the same time, another problem. Saying: “This is not important, they are just numbers”, 5000 death toll? 10000 death toll? 100000 death toll? They are just numbers. So, in fact, this totalitarian government...it is denying the right for people to have their own details of life. Their emotions, their identity, their relatives, their faces…no...none of these. They are just a numbers....
The fact is, Chinese are like this, lacking a sincere, or earnest kind of observation to what is happening in the world? In the earthquake, and the surrounding, those who died are…all very young...from 3 to 19 of age. They are all single child...and their parents have been putting all their strength and hope in them in their journey of growing up. Suddenly, all gone. All the lives gone is owing to the problem with the architecture...very obvious, is the problem with the architecture. But what has made the government covering up. I think this is where the problem lies.
Certainly I have been to the earthquake area, I saw those people….and their miserable situation. So I think, it’s no use only criticizing, but not doing something concrete. When you clearly know who is that boy and his name. How old he is, where he studies, in which class. How did the building collapse? How many students were there in the classroom? Who were their parents?
For that, we started to put things into action. It was very hard in the beginning. First, the government was reluctant to provide information, and told us, “You are not going to do this. You must have some other motives behind. Are there any anti-China forces behind? Is it this?….or that?...foreign spy….state secret…” I find it funny. Then we started doing it ourselves. We launched a campaign on the internet, calling citizens to investigate. Many people helped and encountered a lot of difficulties. Because no one knew what would happen to them. For going into the most marginal areas …
The one who went into the village to interview would often grasped by the police afterwards. The police would tear apart the name list of the victims they have put together, and delete their interview recording, and confiscate their photos. Once and again, we were being caught more than 30 times. In the end, we still managed to find more than 5200 names of the victims. This what we have done is not just a respect to the deceased, but also to tell people how to take action, how to get a thing done, even if it seems tiny....
Go on, it’s okay, make it clearer.
Q: Do you think the country owes them?
Ai: I think so, the country… not them alone, but a lot more others. The country has totally forgotten under what circumstances, they have been ….by some people...where does their power come from? Then, the basic message to everyone…. this kind of blockage(of information), and the blockage of the news are taking away the right to act of a civil citizen....when a person cannot get hold of the whole picture of the message (information flow), their behavior can merely be an accordance respond, which is problematic and we all know who would do that (limiting access of information to the people). We can see, North Korea is doing that, Iran is doing that, Cuba is doing that and China is doing that. Why doing that? Very simple, to keep things in order? To keep the political establishment stable. The stability of the political party is where their interest lies. They have sacrificed the right to information and the right to act for a generation, or even generations, just for their own interests. This kind of government is certainly a sinful government. So I am doing something very simple.
Q: What gives you the courage?
Ai: Courage is….I think….courage is originated from...an understanding to life as a person. Because life is a very….thing. Life is a gift. It is not what we fought for...we have accepted life ever since we were born. Then we use our whole life to protect this dignity. This is what everyone of us should do. If we are not doing this, how can we face ourselves. Life alone is itself our biggest wealth. Don’t say this is the grace from your parents. It is a miracle itself. If we cannot even do this (protect our dignity), then it would be problematic to live as a human. No matter how knowledgeable you are, or how wealthy you are. If you cannot make basic effort to protect your dignity, that is….. what our strength allowed . Then it would be a very big problem.
Q: I have seen many of your works, e.g the Great Wall that composed of schoolbags. What is the inspiration behind your work?
Ai: I don’t have a lot of inspiration when I create my work. I mean, what kind of media/language can communicate, then make use of that to pass the message to others and let others feel the magic of the language. Before going into details of what have happened...ah, it actually has a story like this, then what this story is expressing... what kind of sentiment? I think this is a very simple thing.
Q: What is your plan for the Earthquake memorial day?
Ai: I don’t have any plan. Everyone is saying: what are you guys doing on 12 May, I say: to me, everyday is 12 May. Because the kids are dead. Their pain, and their parents...don’t know how to get through 12 May. When at night, you feel that you kids are not coming back home for dinner, every day is 12 May, isn’t it?
Q: In fact, there are a lot of (your) supporters in Hong Kong, let make use of this chance. What would you say to Hong Kong people? Because Hong Kong is now under a difficult condition...
Ai: I think… what Hong Kong has achieved today is never easy. It is a society with democracy, a place relatively with more freedom. Of course, now we always say, there’s much political influence from the mainland, but I think this is still an opportunity. Because one may not always have a chance like this, you can go…to understand more if you have a chance. And what kind of government...and what kind of people are living in different conditions, what to do to help them...that is to put your personal ability on trail. And your…a kind of your (human) quality, to emerge at an occasion. Young people in Hong Kong have this opportunity, then all should cherish this condition and do something for the others, I think that is quite good. Because a lot of people do not have that capacity, right?
Q: We want to have a referendum, what do you think about it?
Ai: That is great! I think…I think this is something to be persist with...because you cannot let others take away your right, isn’t it? That is a right by birth. No matter what others say, that’s no use. That’s a persistence, a very simple belief. That is to say, one person one vote, referendum.
Q: Have you any plan to come for an exhibition?
Ai: Last time, it was not easy in Japan, because Hong Kong does not have a very active culture. That’s not too active, I think...perhaps young people really need to stand up. Because Hong Kong, as a lively port city is relatively weak in culture. So I think that is your own problem
Q: How about publication?
Ai: Publication… well, I think after the emergence of the internet...publication…is still needed. But this autumn, I will receive a prize. I made an English version of a book on the collections from my blog.
Q: Then… what time?
Ai: This autumn...
Q: Oh, we are looking forward.
Ai: Right, is an English version...
Q: You must come to sign (the books) for us....
Q: We are all your (fans)…
Ai: good, good....
Q: Any more questions? I wish I were fans of you guys. That means you guys do more, I do less...no, no, no, it’s true.
Ai: Seeing how the China’s Meng Bo describes you...has in fact stimulated a lot of thoughts in us. We wish more Chinese, or Hong Kong people will follow your steps together, we walk a little warmer, a little cozier. You can see from Twitter, it is not just about the babies from the past. It’s about all the people who push an issue. He will also Re-Tweet...what I see is hardly seen in chat and Twitter circles. I see you are treating everyone with respect....
Ai: This is what we should do, I think that the others are just the same with me. But we have different opportunities, different fortune...right, maybe one day, they will be far better than I do. I think that would be the best because when everyone cares, the society will care. It’s no use with only one or two voicing out. We are not a generation that needs heroes, we need everyone with the possibility to (do something).
Q: Would you like people in Hong Kong help spreading (what you do)?
Ai: Sure, and that is good. I have started spreading in the beginning.
Q: I disguise your name in alien language...
Q: We know you have a MicroBlog in Sina.... a new move, isn’t it?
Ai: No, not anymore now.
Q: We still remember that night you registered with more than 70 accounts...
Ai: That’s fun.
Q: What aim did you have in mind?
Ai: To disrupt the rules, to break order. I think only by disrupting the order that the public can create possibilities. Young people can have possibilities because the rules and conventions are established for the people in power. The establishment only wants to stabilize their own interests. Therefore, to me, interrupting the convention rules is something important.
Q: Do you think the active mass on the internet are too reliable on the network? If they can leave the internet and stand out for their views, then that firewall would become useless...
Ai: The internet, I think, it is a school. People exchange their views to realize many problems. Certainly that is the first step. For some people with the ability to act, they can do something. For those who cannot act, they spread the messages, they are all contributing in some ways and I think it doesn’t matter what they do. Not everyone needs to be a revolutionary. That’s not necessary at all. How to make life happier, let yourself agree with what you do and to move the people around you, they are all very important.
Q: Will there be any followers’ gathering in other cities?
Ai: That is possible. Well, I am a man of leisure anyway. When I see people are happy with this, I will continue to do this.
Q: We have an editor in the US. He has a sharp question for you....
Q: (interrupting) Let’s see what followers you have got....
Ai: If followers in Hong Kong have arranged for a day to spread a headline together at the same hour, that would be powerful and it doesn’t matter what the issue is, isn’t it? I feel that would be very powerful and would create some forceful (influences) .We can try and let our technology be part of our daily living issues. Isn’t it wonderful?
Q: We do need the help of our mainland followers...
Ai: Followers are without national boundary, we are all the same. What sharp question you just mentioned? (from the US co-worker).
Q: If your father is not Ai Qing, would your life be different? Would your action and achievement be different?
Ai: You tell him, my father is not Ai Qing. I am an illegitimate son by my mom and my neighbor Old Zhang....
Q: He has misunderstood... what we care is how to put Twitter Campaigns in China and in other places into reality? Push them into some larger events? With stronger effect?
Ai: I think it is necessary to accelerate the pace of (ideas) exchanges, repeatedly make it a habit of the people, no matter whether it is an ability to action....for example, when everybody come (would be good), I think that is possible, not that it must be an issue to discuss. But when everyone feel that...Ah, we all have the power. We can gather so many of us together and we can spread a heading at one time and do what we want. So in the future, we are also going to have some mutual concerns. Isn’t that great? Then everyone passing on to mobilize some others. I think that is something great! Once, we had an network strike in Beijing, around 700 or 800 people came. We were so happy, we played football, we drank and ate, all day, from breakfast to lunch to dinner. The national security people came too...sat there and did not have reason to interrupt. They might think this group of people were just eating and playing together, nothing wrong with them. It’s a bit like a saying that I have heard before, let democracy be our air. When you are familiar with this air, you will get used to it. I think democracy is not a purpose. Democracy is to make better quality of life. Isn’t it great to make our quality of life better...
Q: It reminds me of something interesting, "no longer party-oriented"...
Ai: That’s also something fun and playful. Anything more to say? If not then I better stop.
Q: Alright, thank you
There are too many citizens die "unnaturally" in the detention center run by the Ministry of Public Security.What is the function of detention center? Why so many unjust death happen in there?