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January 22, 2009


Scott Sykes

Great interview, nice job Rebecca. This is rich with topics/ideas. Would love if Obama accepted his offer to chat. Also, I went to Ai Weiwei's photo exhibit in Beijing, really amazing work. Ironically, he said in a writeup at the exhibit that he was not very interested in photography, but had little else to do in New York at the time, so captured all those photos. Very talented artist and a bright guy, it's possible he will have innovative ideas and impact on the political sphere, sounds like that's what he plans to focus on from now on.


Thanks so much for posting this. I really appreciated listening to the conversation. For some reason, the recording would not go further after about one third of the total length (Oh, it just resumed while I am typing this:) Maybe it is due to the GFW circumventing software I am using. One minor error I have noticed: “defending rights” should be “維權”instead of “衛權”. A full transcription would be too much work for one person alone. It would be easier if we break it down for several volunteers to do it.

Rebecca MacKinnon

Thanks for pointing out the Chinese typo.
You're definitely welcome to organize some volunteers to break down the transcribing work! :)

Christopher Adams

Incredibly valuable interview. Excellent work, Rebbecca.

It may be worthwhile to remind your readership that Ai Weiwei's family (his father was a famous modernist writer) were sent to a re-education camp in Xinjiang when Ai was only one year old. It would be nearly two decades before they were allowed to return to Beijing.

Of the experience, Ai Weiwei said in another interview*, "You have a sense of being in a family of criminals, that you're the enemy of everybody. But eventually you realise that it's not so bad to be the enemy."

He then qualified, "Not really the enemy, but outside, outside of the crowd, of the mass."

*Art Review, Issue 22, May 2008


love his work, love yours ..

thanks so much,

gregory lent

In the name of democracy

Interesting to see that the quartet performance in the Obama Inauguration is fake too (but people have quickly forgiven it). And DC sex workers were driven out from certain zones in DC too. Even the Sydney Orchestra's use of recordings by the Melbourne Orchestra during the Sydney Olympics was never really condemned.


Hello Rebecca,thanks for your interview. I would like to help with translation, could you send me the chinese version? Can I post the chinese version on my blog too?

Rebecca MacKinnon

Darwin, right now there is no written Chinese language version. I did the english excerpts by listening directly to the Chinese recording. The full recording is embedded in this post. As a first step I need somebody to help type up a full Chinese lanuage transcript. You are certainly welcome to do that and to post it wherever you want, ideally crediting the original source.

Tim Kring

I am new to reading blogs(always thought they were just bluster and whimsy) and just wanted to say that this was a great opportunity for me to be better informed.



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