China warned on web censorship plans

Ai Weiwei Mr Ai was told to remove webcams in his home he had set up to mock official surveillance

Related Stories

China's efforts to stifle dissent by controlling what people say online are doomed to fail, a renowned Chinese artist has said.

The warning was issued by Ai Weiwei in an article written for the UK's Guardian newspaper.

China has recently introduced rules that seek to ensure that when people go online they use their real names.

Mr Ai said although the rules might delay the day government censorship failed, there was no doubt it would.

"In the long run, they (the government) must understand it's not possible for them to control the internet unless they shut it off - and they can't live with the consequences of that," he wrote.

Camera ban

The rise of blogs, social media and electronic communication had given rise to new sense of freedom among Chinese people, he said.

The government may still put out news via officially backed channels, said Mr Ai, but the net meant that people did not just have to accept this view of the world.

Instead, even before the official version was printed or broadcast people have discussed it online and, in the process, were learning how to exercise their own judgement and rights.

This relative freedom to talk would give rise to bigger changes that the government would not be able to curb, said Mr Ai.

"The internet is uncontrollable. And if the internet is uncontrollable, freedom will win," he said.

Mr Ai's most recent brush with the Chinese authorities came earlier in April when he was told to turn off webcams he had set up throughout his house.

The cameras were installed, he said, as a way to encourage transparency.

In April 2011, Mr Ai was detained by the police in China for 81 days during a crackdown on political activists. He is now banned from leaving Beijing.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Technology stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

BBC Future

(USAF)

Secrets of the aircraft boneyards

The vast storage sites for surplus planes Read more...

Programmes

  • Bitcoin logoClick Watch

    The developer behind the new Bitcoin tech on the fears it will hide criminal activity

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.