(FILES) This picture taken on April 18, 2008 shows athletes competing in the men's 20km walk outside the National Stadium also known as the "Birds Nest".  AFP photo

TOKYO: Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei has told a Japanese newspaper that he regrets helping the Communist Party to stage a successful Olympic Games with his design of Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium.

Ai, who is under state surveillance at his home in the Chinese capital, told the Yomiuri Shimbun the 2008 Games were just propaganda for the ruling party.

“The Beijing Olympics have oppressed the life of the general public with the latest technologies and a security apparatus of 700,000 guards,” he told the paper.

“It was merely a stage for a political party to advertise its glory to the world,” he said.

“I became disenchanted because I realised I was used by the government to spread their patriotic education. Since the Olympics, I haven't looked at (the stadium),” he said.

Ai, whose activism has made him a thorn in the side of China's communist authorities, disappeared into custody for 81 days last year as police rounded up dissidents and lawyers amid online calls for Arab-style protests in China.

Upon his release in June, he was charged with tax evasion, charges he maintains are politically motivated attempts to silence him.

He told the Yomiuri the Chinese government was “pursuing a one-sided pragmatism without freedom of speech and thought, and is in a desperate state in which it has become ethically bankrupt”.

The interview, which the paper said was carried out on Wednesday, was published in English on its website on Monday.

“The biggest crime of a dictatorship is to eradicate human feelings from people,” said Ai.

“I can endure this situation because I experienced many hardships as a child and I have many supporters,” he said. “However, I doubt the average person could maintain a normal state of mind.”

Opinion

Editorial

Updated 22 May, 2022

Back in the game?

WITH the new government struggling to make crucial decisions independently, Pakistan’s ‘parallel governance...
22 May, 2022

Currency concerns

IN the midst of the power struggle in the country, the rupee slid past 200 to a dollar in the interbank market last...
Updated 22 May, 2022

Shireen Mazari’s arrest

Abuse of power can never be condoned, regardless of who it targets or from where it emanates.
Updated 21 May, 2022

Band-aid measure

A more pronounced impact would have been possible had the cap on energy prices been removed.
21 May, 2022

Bilawal’s defence

BILAWAL Bhutto-Zardari’s robust defence at the UN headquarters of former prime minister Imran Khan’s Feb 24 trip...
21 May, 2022

Yasin Malik’s conviction

THE conviction of veteran Kashmiri freedom fighter and head of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front Yasin Malik by an...