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Giving Ai Weiwei a Voice

Chinese artist and human rights activist Ai Weiwei has delivered a widely anticipated video statement out of house arrest yesterday at Cinema for Peace's special event on the freedom of expression at Fondation Beyeler in Basel, Switzerland.

Around 100 personalities from the world of arts, film and society came together on the occasion of Art Basel and "Art & Cinema for Peace" in honour of the Chinese artist. This special occasion included the premiere of the documentary film "Ai Weiwei - Never Sorry" by Alison Klayman. Then, a panel discussion followed, including Ai Weiwei's gallerist Urs Meile and Director Alison Klayman.

Besides the support of such leading arts personalities such as Udo Kittelmann, and Ai Weiwei's gallerist Urs Meile, the artist Olafur Eliasson contributed an appeal for Mr. Weiwei.

Two time Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon concluded the evening with a statement expressing the worldwide support for Ai Weiwei: "Dear Ai Weiwei, we want to thank you for standing up for human rights and not giving in to the pressures which have been put on you. We are standing in solidarity with you and hope to see you released very soon. You can count on us, and on artists all over the world. We are with you - in our minds and in our hearts."

In his video message, Ai Weiwei stated that his detention was a punishment for criticizing the authorities for the violation of human rights. Weiwei also said that he was secretly detained for over 81 days, and that even after his release he never got a clear explanation. Furthermore, he criticizes the authorities for denying freedom of expression and violating basic human rights every day: "I think today in China, because there's no vision or no ideology - and the governing, the people in office are just trying to maintain the so-called stability to protect their own profit or their own interests -, they have to crush down the different voices. There is no real communication or discussion. And the violation of human rights, you can see is happening every day."

In order to support special screenings at universities, an admission to a lecture, an invitation to a dinner, as well as a chair of Ai Weiwei's installation at the last documenta in Kassel were auctioned at the event.

The film "Ai Weiwei - Never Sorry" will premiere in German theatres on June 14th.




Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei´s video statement at "Art & Cinema for Peace"


Never Sorry

"Ai Weiwei - Never Sorry", by Alison Klayman - trailer



Giving Ai Weiwei A Voice - Opening Trailer


Susan Sarandon

Statement by Susan Sarandon


Statement by Olafur Eliasson



Assault on Ai Weiwei



Free Ai Weiwei – A Song