Ai Weiwei is one of the most prominent artists and architectural designers in China, and colaborated with Swiss firm Herzog de Meuron on design of the structural icon of the 2008 Olympics, the Birds Nest, the Beijing National Stadium.
Given this connection with the Games, it may be a little surprising to head him speaking openly and frankly in his blog about state of China in 2008, and with particular contempt for the goverment. The post has been translated by the China Digital Time.
Ai refers to growing inequality in the country, political corruption, inflation, pollution and lack of human rights.
Of the 2008 Games he says that: “An Olympics far from the will of the people and the spirit of freedom, a national ceremony without the inspiration of the citizenry, a myth so far away from modern civilization, the end result will be endless nonsense and a bore.”
How many people Ai Weiwei’s words speak on behalf of is unclear. However it is perhaps in a perverse way a positive reflection on the changes taking place in China that this voice can be aired. For better or worse it seems the Olympics are certainly destined to play their part in these changes.