Ai Weiwei’s Mother Speaks About Son’s Release from Detention

by Sampsonia Way    /  July 5, 2011  / No comments



Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei was released last week after 81 days of unlawful detention by the Chinese Communist Party. Ai Weiwei has not been charged with any crime, and despite the fact that the CCP accused him of tax evasion, human rights groups claim that his detention, and the conditions of his release, are politically motivated.

As a condition of his release, Ai Weiwei is not allowed to travel or communicate freely. For that reason his mother, Gao Ying, spoke about her ordeal. Here are an interview first published by NTD Television and its transcription from The Epoch Times.

Please talk about how you will continue from now on, because Ai still needs to face the authorities’ charges. You can choose the topics to discuss.

Let me tell you, I can say whatever I have to say in any situation, I feel what I have to say is all correct and I have no hesitation.

I don’t know any of the media, but I believe all media have a sense of justice. So I feel, after this happened to my son Ai Weiwei, to be honest, a lot of media have spoken up. I really feel that I am not alone. To have so many media speaking out for justice is very comforting to me.

At that time, I couldn’t see the government, and nobody paid attention to me even though I lost my son and couldn’t find him. So when all these media gave me information, I saw the different forms by which the media have sought justice for my son. I have heard their voices. Also, there were so many people who protested this suppression of my son, calling for his release. So I don’t feel alone in this.

Between his arrest and before his release, no police, procuratorate or judicial officers, or anyone who arrested him, or any government office told me where my son was; why he was detained; why he’s not released and the reason for his detention. I was not clear at all. I just heard all sorts of information, especially by the state-run media which said one thing today, and another tomorrow. I couldn’t tell what was true and what was false.

But in my heart I know. I know what my son has done is correct. He speaks for the people and is defending their rights. He’s not trying to get justice for our family, but for the people. So this led to his incarceration. So now, he was released on June 22. This was a day we were waiting for. We didn’t know it would come so quick, although I was still mentally prepared. I did expect to wait indefinitely, but I had this confidence that they would release him, and when that happens he’ll have the chance to speak, right?

So when he was suddenly released, I felt it was like a dream, I didn’t know if it was true or not, because there were always rumors. But I felt since a lot of media—before the state-run Xinhua released itsreport, other media knew—so they called me, they must’ve had some insider information. So I felt it might be true, but still, it wasn’t official and couldn’t be trusted. Only when I saw my son did I believe this—that this is real and he is coming out. I was very happy. I believe all these media who have upheld justice, his friends and his fans and online friends are all very happy, and would have many stories to tell. They’re more excited than I am.

What’s his health like? How is his mood?

It’s like this, when he was released he had to agree to certain restrictions. He can’t leave the country or leave Beijing. He can’t contact the media. There were conditions imposed before his release. So a lot of media wanted to approach him and interview him but this is not possible. So what about his mood? Well, think about it, he hasn’t seen his family for 81 days, he doesn’t know the changes that have happened in the world, or what’s happened because of his arrest. He has no idea. He didn’t even know that his driver, Zhang Jinsong, was arrested.

He had no idea?

No, no idea. He was just in a room. The room was guarded by public security officers. Inside, actually he was treated well, he was fed well and doctors monitored his health every day and he took his medicine. He just didn’t have freedom.

What about these charges they’ve laid against them?

We’ll see about those. I can’t say anything else right? We haven’t seen anything so far about what it’s all about, and we’re unclear.

Did he know about this, when he was inside?

He didn’t really understand. He asked what was this all about? What’s all this that authorities have reported about him? Let’s let time tell, okay? As a mother, I can’t comment without knowing the facts. Is that okay?

You also told the media that this is just the beginning.

If you’re asking me to speak, I just hope that the media will still pay attention to my son. Also I feel, as a mother, so many media have approached me during this 81-day period. I really did not expect it, so many media, all over the world, wanting to do phone interviews.

I believe the media is really concerned for my son. So I’d like to use this opportunity in our interview here that, I want to tell everyone I am very grateful, very grateful. Because the media has not only allowed the public to find out about this, they’ve also allowed me to understand what kind of a person my son is. As a mother, I didn’t really used to know him much, but through these 81 days, and through my contacts with so many media, I believe all of this is basically truthful. So I am very, very grateful to the media.

Ai Weiwei has had a big effect on defending the rights of the public inside the country.

This is what I think. I feel Ai Weiwei is paying attention to society, to the people. He is criticizing the negative trends in society, and offering his opinion in defending the people’s rights. This should not be a crime. This behavior should be allowed to stand, and should be promoted. So, I feel that as long as it’s correct, I hope the media will support it.

If it’s not correct, the media is able to express criticism, right? As human beings, we need to develop towards what’s positive and civilized. This isn’t the question of a problem that’s specific to a country. The whole world should be this way, because it’s our home. I hope in this one world, we can have the same dream. That would be the best.

I hope there’s no more trouble. If there’s more trouble, this elderly mother is near death. Truly, these 81 days have been immense torture for me. I have not cried so many tears in my life. Truly, it’s been a very painful 81 days, it’s really been this way. My health has also suffered.

I need to bravely accept reality. Please be assured, I am still very strong.

This interview was reproduced by permission of NTD Television.

Read More:

Read Chinese Activists Arrested While the International Eye is on Other Countries

Read Detained Artist Ai Weiwei Allowed to See Wife After Weeks Apart

Read Detained Artist Ai Weiwei’s Visit to the Warhol Museum Uncertain

About the Author

Sampsonia Way is an online magazine sponsored by City of Asylum/Pittsburgh that seeks to protect and advocate for writers who may be endangered, to educate the public about threats to writers and literary expression, and to create a community in which endangered writers thrive and literary culture is a valued part of life.

View all articles by Sampsonia Way

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