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To work in architecture you ar...

To work in architecture you are so much involved with society, with politics, with bureaucrats. It's a very complicated process to do large projects. You start to see the society, how it functions, how it works. Then you have a lot of criticism about how it works.

192 quotes

I see the Beijing National Sta...

I see the Beijing National Stadium as an architectural project. I accepted Herzog and De Meuron's invitation to collaborate on the design, and our proposal won the competition. From beginning to end, I stayed with the project. I am committed to fostering relationships between a city and its architecture.

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The 'Bird's Nest' National Sta...

The 'Bird's Nest' National Stadium, which I helped to conceive, is designed to embody the Olympic spirit of 'fair competition.' It tells people that freedom is possible but needs fairness, courage and strength.

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Everyone wants an iPhone, but ...

Everyone wants an iPhone, but it would be impossible to design an iPhone in China because it's not a product it's an understanding of human nature.

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When you have strict censorshi...

When you have strict censorship of the internet, young students cannot receive a full education. Their view of the world is imbalanced. There can be no true discussion of the issues.

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The American experience influe...

The American experience influenced my understanding of individuality, basic human rights, freedom of expression and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.

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I don't believe in the so-call...

I don't believe in the so-called Olympic spirit. I speak from personal experience. When China hosted the Games, it failed to include the people. The event was constructed without regard for their joy.

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Widespread state control over ...

Widespread state control over art and culture has left no room for freedom of expression in the country. For more than 60 years, anyone with a dissenting opinion has been suppressed. Chinese art is merely a product: it avoids any meaningful engagement. There is no larger context. Its only purpose is to charm viewers with its ambiguity.

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China has not established the ...

China has not established the rule of law and if there is a power above the law there is no social justice. Everybody can be subjected to harm. I'm just a citizen: my life is equal in value to any other. But I'm thankful that when I lost my freedom so many people shared feelings and put such touching effort into helping me.

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This nation is notorious for i...

This nation is notorious for its ability to make or fake anything cheaply. 'Made-in-China' goods now fill homes around the world. But our giant country has a small problem. We can't manufacture the happiness of our people.

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The Chinese art world does not...

The Chinese art world does not exist. In a society that restricts individual freedoms and violates human rights, anything that calls itself creative or independent is a pretence. It is impossible for a totalitarian society to create anything with passion and imagination.

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I think Chinese leadership is ...

I think Chinese leadership is trying to tell the world they have another set of logic or reasoning or values which are different from yours. Of course, I don't think they believe that. It's just an argument that's made when you can't confront the truth and facts. They really want to maintain power.

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People are always wondering if...

People are always wondering if I am an artist or political activist or politician. Maybe I'll just clearly tell you: Whatever I do is not art. Let's say it is just objects or materials, movies or writing, but not art, OK?

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Censorship is saying: 'I'm the...

Censorship is saying: 'I'm the one who says the last sentence. Whatever you say, the conclusion is mine.' But the internet is like a tree that is growing. The people will always have the last word - even if someone has a very weak, quiet voice. Such power will collapse because of a whisper.

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This week, the world gathers i...

This week, the world gathers in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic games. This is the extraordinary moment China has been dreaming of for 100 years. People have been longing for this moment, because it symbolises a turning point in China's relationship with the outside world.

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If we all say the same thing, ...

If we all say the same thing, then I think the government has to listen. But because no one is saying it, I become singled out, even though what I'm saying is common sense. It's very essential values that we all have to protect. But in Chinese society, people are giving up on protecting these values.

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Police in China can do whateve...

Police in China can do whatever they want after 81 days in arbitrary detention you clearly realise that they don't have to obey their own laws. In a society like this there is no negotiation, no discussion, except to tell you that power can crush you any time they want - not only you, your whole family and all people like you.

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As a person, I was born to giv...

As a person, I was born to give out my opinions. By giving out my opinions, I realize who I am. As long as I can communicate, I'm not so lonely. If I cannot travel, or do art, or have company, if they take away all my belongings, it doesn't matter at all.

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I call on people to be 'obsess...

I call on people to be 'obsessed citizens,' forever questioning and asking for accountability. That's the only chance we have today of a healthy and happy life.

192 quotes

Censorship is saying: 'I'm the...

Censorship is saying: 'I'm the one who says the last sentence. Whatever you say, the conclusion is mine.' But the internet is like a tree that is growing. The people will always have the last word - even if someone has a very weak, quiet voice. Such power will collapse because of a whisper.

192 quotes

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