US is morphing into China, says Ai Weiwei

NSA surveillance: The US is behaving like China
Both governments think they are doing what is best for the state and people. But, as I know, such abuse of power can ruin lives
Ai Weiwei
The Guardian, Tuesday 11 June 2013 14.30 BST

Even though we know governments do all kinds of things I was shocked by the information about the US surveillance operation, Prism. To me, it’s abusively using government powers to interfere in individuals’ privacy. This is an important moment for international society to reconsider and protect individual rights.

I lived in the United States for 12 years. This abuse of state power goes totally against my understanding of what it means to be a civilised society, and it will be shocking for me if American citizens allow this to continue. The US has a great tradition of individualism and privacy and has long been a centre for free thinking and creativity as a result.

In our experience in China, basically there is no privacy at all – that is why China is far behind the world in important respects: even though it has become so rich, it trails behind in terms of passion, imagination and creativity.

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