Social media is empowering Chinese citizens, despite the Communist regime’s efforts to censor and regulate online communication, says a leading dissident.
“Daily, when the event’s happening, people start to make comments on it, which already completely changes the landscape of the political situation,” activist-artist Ai Weiwei says, in a new video (above) posted on the BigThink blog.
“I think those technology platform constantly put the government on trial. And every event, every policy they make, people will laugh about it or make fun about it. This is amazing for younger generation.”
Chinese netizens are using forums like Weibo to hold the authorities accountable, despite the regime’s efforts to curb cyber-activism.
“Free information and communication on the Internet is forbidden in China, so you’re facing a great firewall to block all the major internet services, and within China you have 100,000 internet police just sitting there delete all blogs, whatever information they cannot appreciate…”
Ai, who recently announced that he was returning money donated by supporters after exhausting legal channels to contest a huge tax bill widely considered punishment for his rights activism, believes the authorities are fighting a losing battle against internet freedom.
“I think the internet and technology can lead to more freedom in everywhere, especially in China. A state like China or other authoritarian society,” he said. “To maintain this kind of control is to censor and block the freedom of expression. Once that is not possible, then to maintain this kind of control is impossible.”