The news that Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been detained by authorities has prompted significant concern here at TED HQ. We had shown a film of him at last month’s conference, an unexpected and courageous statement about his treatment by the government, social change, the power of the web, and his hope for the future of China. The film, which was shown as Ai Weiwei himself watched live over the web in the middle of the night, prompted a huge standing ovation from the TED audience.
TED is a nonpartisan, nonpolitical organization, and we understand the Chinese authorities’ concern at anything which might provoke social unrest. But for anyone who believes in the power of ideas, of human imagination, it is heartbreaking to see one of the world’s great artists shackled in this way. We will be tracking developments carefully. Here is the film.
– Chris Anderson