Beijing stadium designer gives Olympics -and Spielberg- the finger

Last week here on BoingBoing, we watched Tibetan independence activist Lhadon Tethong (president of Students for a Free Tibet) liveblog her way through Beijing. At one point, she and others were arrested in an investigation around who unfurled a "Free Tibet" banner on the Great Wall of China. Ms. Tethong has since been released, and she's continuing to blog about human rights issues involving ethnic minorities in China, and related controversy around the 2008 Olympics:

The most amazing development since my last post is that Ai Wei Wei, one of China’s most celebrated artists and the designer of the [Beijing National Stadium, nicknamed the] Bird’s Nest, has come out against Beijing’s Olympics.

In this unbelievably damning report from Al Jazeera posted on YouTube, Ai Wei Wei says that the Olympics don’t represent the true face of China and he wants nothing more to do with them anymore.

I guess it’s not suprising that Ai Wei Wei has spoken out. Not only is he a brilliant independent artist, but he grew up watching his father - the famous modern Chinese poet, Ai Qin - and family suffering in a labor camp in East Turkestan (Xinjiang) after his father was exiled there during the Anti-Rightist Movement under Mao.

Link to full text of her post.

Snip from a related story in the UK Guardian, "Olympic artist attacks China’s pomp and propaganda" -- in which Ai lambasts director Steven Spielberg, Zhang Yimou, and other A-listers tapped to design the opening ceremonies:

“All the shitty directors in the world are involved. It’s disgusting,” said Ai. “I don’t like anyone who shamelessly abuses their profession, who makes no moral judgment. It is mindless.”

Below, a snapshot of that Tibetan sovereignty protest on the Great Wall, captured by phonecams and blogged around the world.

Previously on BoingBoing:

  • Tibetan independence activist blogging inside Beijing - UPDATED