作者 : 法兰克富汇报,
法兰克富汇报 2008 年 3 月 31 日
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, March 31, 2008.
Time to reveal the truth
Ai Weiwei, what is your view of the recent unrest in Tibet over the past few weeks and the reaction of the western world?
As an observer, I think that the information presented both in the West and in China was to a certain degree incorrect. There was no in-depth reporting on the reasons behind the violence, and aside from mutual criticisms, neither side had any substantive communication with the other. Regrettably, a prominent feature when looking back on our history is the lack of public debate. We live in a society where ideology is severely controlled, especially when it touches upon the issues of ethnic minorities. If the majority of occupying Han treat the ethnic minorities as liberated serfs, there's no hope of resolving the issue. The reality of the situation is extremely complex. They have their own religion, their own path of cultural development and their own ways of thinking. The Tibetan people are now chided for being lawbreakers, but I don't think this can solve the problem. This is only going to intensify the hatred between the Han and ethnic peoples, and deepen the differences between them.
How can these differences be eliminated?
Most important is to truly respect ethnic minorities, and to admit all of the mistakes perpetrated against them in the past. In all events, this latest unrest [in Tibet] at the very least speaks to the failure of ethnic minority policies. We have never fully understood their religion and their lifestyle. Historically, we destroyed their monasteries and statues - that's a simple fact. Now they have started destroying property and they have attacked military personnel. We are compelled to ask, where did this hatred come from? Do we really want the kind of society where we completely ignore their rights but then say everything is normal? In a democratic society, the rights and characteristics of different groups are respected. These issues have to be solved. If they cannot be solved then it's a failure of policy. A dialog must be sought. To simply accuse them of the crime of splittism is not feasible. We need to establish a society in which different ethnic groups, people with different languages, different religions, lifestyle and different ways of thinking can coexist. And this requires respect, tolerance, consultation and dialog.
Why, do you think, has the western world been disapproving?
If people carry preconceptions with them, they wont see the outside world clearly - "A single leaf before ones eye/ Obscures a view of all Mount Tai." Wherever there are cover-ups, there are also suspicions and speculation. I fundamentally believe that misunderstandings and resentment between people and between nations, and differences between ideologies and between east and west, and that the misunderstandings and resentment between Han and Tibetan people can to a large degree be traced back to the suppression of information, and a lack of transparency and channels for gathering information. This has been at great cost to society. Throughout China there have been some changes on this, but there are still areas which are led by these old structures and thinking. And in this regard, I think the Tibet issue is particularly special. Due a lack of facts and a deliberate suppression of the truth, people's understanding and powers of deduction have been impeded. It sounds a little naïve, but this is incredibly basic. The ways and means people use to try and acquire facts and experience denote fundamental differences among different societies. In the early stages of Communism, people attempted to acquire the absolute truth by means of struggle. While people were striving for the truth, ordinary people who needed the truth were not trusted with it. It is extremely dangerous to tell the public the truth. This very old way of thinking touches upon how people wield their power. I often ask why can't we have a society with no supervision or control of the media. What are we trying to hide? What kind of facts can be so dangerous? Naturally, if the majority of people can only get one-sided information then they're easier to control. Information is power. But before judgment can be made on who is right and who is wrong, the truth has to be understood. This has always been the way. We've never had this power before, but now is the time for us to have it. Otherwise when history is reviewed the whole world will try and put responsibility elsewhere - if nothing shameful has been done, then why should there be cover-ups? Overall, I think the media did not exaggerate. If there wasn't the slightest reporting of this and there was no one to actually see what was happening, that would have been truly damaging. Many Chinese people are now cursing the west, and this is an outcome of a long period of propaganda where the west is the enemy, the enemy who deceived China. This is an outcome of bias.
Many Chinese are curious as to why so many western people are interested in Tibet. And conversely we can also ask: why are so few Chinese people concerned about Tibet?