Artist Asks a Simple Question: What Do Chinese People Need?

A 20 minute documentary by Yang Weidong asks what Chinese people need, and presents 151 answers. From The Age:

“I need freedom of speech,” says Mao Yushi, a public intellectual who has mentored many of China’s leading economists.

“More free space for creative work,” says the composer Zhang Xiaofu, a central figure in Chinese electronic music ….

“I need government to respect the rule of law and human rights,” says Cai Dingjian, formerly of the legal affairs committee of the National People’s Congress ….

Most answers to his first question – what do you need? – revolve around the ideals of freedom, democracy, rule of law and morality. But some are more prosaic. “Like everybody, I need money,” says rock musician He Yong ….

The riddle at the centre of Yang’s documentary, which is centred on China’s thirst for freedom, is the fact that he was able to make it in Beijing and to travel to Hong Kong to release it.

It shows a measure of intellectual freedom in China can exist for those with the courage – and strategic cunning – to create it.


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