Humanity by Weiwei Ai Larry Warsh

Humanity by Weiwei Ai Larry Warsh

Author:Weiwei Ai,Larry Warsh [Weiwei Ai,Larry Warsh]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780691181523
Publisher: PrincetonUP
Published: 2018-07-15T05:00:00+00:00



Ai Qing, Ai Weiwei’s father, is born in Zhejiang Province on March 27.


The Xinhai Revolution overthrows the Qing dynasty in 1911, ending two millennia of imperial rule. The Republic of China is founded; Sun Yat-sen (1866–1925) is elected its first provisional president on December 29, 1911. A period of instability follows, including an attempt to revive the monarchy, the Warlord Era, the Second Sino-Japanese War, and the Chinese Civil War between the Nationalists and the Chinese Communist Party.


Ai Qing studies painting in Paris and discovers a love for poetry.


Ai Qing returns to China and joins the League of Left-Wing Writers in Shanghai. Imprisoned for three years by the Nationalists, he nonetheless writes and publishes poetry.


Ai Qing meets Mao Zedong (1893–1976). Mao organizes the Yan’an Forum on Art and Literature and delivers a seminal speech on the relationship between art and politics. Ai Qing joins the Chinese Communist Party in 1943.


The Chinese Communist Party, led by Mao, takes control of mainland China and establishes the People’s Republic of China on October 1.


The Chinese Communist Party encourages citizens to express opinions and openly criticize national policies, a period of liberalization subsequently known as the Hundred Flowers Campaign.


Ai Weiwei is born in Beijing on May 18, to Ai Qing and his wife, Gao Ying (1934–).


The Anti-Rightist Movement (1957–1959) immediately follows the Hundred Flowers Campaign. Hundreds of thousands of intellectuals are persecuted on allegations of “rightism” and face punishments ranging from public criticism to exile.

Ai Qing is denounced as a rightist and exiled to Beidahuang, Heilongjiang Province, in northeast China together with his family. They are transferred to Shihezi, Xinjiang Province, in northwest China in 1959.


Mao initiates the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in May 1966, aiming to enforce Communism by removing capitalist, traditional, and cultural elements from Chinese society. Millions are accused of participating in “bourgeois” activities, suffering public humiliation, imprisonment, torture, seizure of property, and various forms of harassment. Numerous historic sites and cultural artifacts are destroyed.

Ai Qing is sent away to a rural region of Xinjiang Province to undergo further thought-reform through hard labor. He and his family return to Beijing in 1975.


Mao passes away at the age of eighty-two on September 9. Thereafter, the political faction known as the Gang of Four is arrested, marking the end of the Cultural Revolution.


Reinstated as leader of the Chinese Communist Party, Deng Xiaoping (1904–1997) promotes economic reform and “opening up” to the outside world, driving China toward a market-oriented economy. Although China reopens its doors to the world, the political regime remains a dictatorship, maintaining strict social and media control.

Ai Weiwei enrolls at the Beijing Film Academy and studies animation as part of the first class of students admitted after the Cultural Revolution.


Rehabilitated, Ai Qing becomes a vice-chairman of the China Writer’s Association.

Ai Weiwei is a founding member of the Stars, the first movement to break away from the official aesthetic policies of the Chinese Communist Party. The first Stars exhibition takes place outside the National Art Museum.


Ai Weiwei studies English in the United States, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and then in Berkeley, California.


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