Southern Metropolis Daily mourns earthquake victims and honors Ai Weiwei
Southern Metropolis Daily published an editorial on
May 12 for the 3-year anniversary of Sichuan earthquake.
The editorial mourned for the victims and paid tribute to
Ai Weiwei, who investigated on student casualties.
Though the editorial did not mention Ai Weiwei’s name,
it was deleted soon, it is already circulated widely.
Supporters even made it into an online video.
This editorial from Southern Metropolis Daily is titled
“To remember them while lying on the river of time.”
Ai Xiaoming, a professor from Zhongshan University
read this article and made it into an online video
with the music from a musician ‘Zuoxiaozuzhou.’
“We promise not to forget. We want to prosper also.
We have done much, but still too little.
Those who have been lost, where are you now?
Can our light illuminate your path? We could do nothing
but bring the iron zodiac and ceramic sunflower seeds
to symbolize and mourn your solidified life.”
After this editorial from Southern Metropolis Daily
was published, its online vision was widely reprinted.
Because the editorial didn’t mention Ai Weiwei
but only the “iron zodiac” and “ceramic
sunflower seeds”, it was not deleted until afternoon.
The replica of “Yuanmingyuan’s twelve zodiac heads”
and “ceramic sunflower seeds” are Ai Weiwei’s
art pieces which are now displayed in the UK.
According to Ai Weiwei Studio’s incomplete statistics,
over 5,000 students died in the Sichuan Earthquake
because of the collapse of shabby school buildings.
“Never forget” is an activity started by Ai on May 12
last year. He published the list of students killed in
the earthquake and invited netizens to read those
names. For two years, every morning at 12 AM,
Ai published the names of the dead who are on
birthday that day and wished them “happy birthday.”
Liu Yanping, a volunteer in Ai Weiwei Studio,
told New Tang Dynasty TV that the name of
Ai Weiwei is tightly connected to
the students killed in the earthquake.
Liu Yanping: “I think the ‘twelve zodiac’ and ‘ceramic
sunflower seeds’ in Southern Metropolis Daily’s
editorial obviously refer to Ai Weiwei. Many people
will think of Ai Weiwei when the 5.12 earthquake is
mentioned, and also his public investigations during
these years and the list of students, so Ai Weiwei’s
name is connected with the 5.12 earthquake.”
Although Ai Weiwei was arrested, people from his
studio still managed to complete a documentary
“An interview with victims’ parents on the three-year
anniversary of 5.12”, which recorded the bitterness
of appealing to the authorities. Many parents came
to the studio and talked about their bitter experiences.
Liu Yanping: “Because Ai has been working on the
student list, many parents know about him.
Now few people are willing to speak for the students.
We interviewed the parents considering their
hard trip to Beijing…Then we put the video onto
the website before the three-year anniversary of
5.12 earthquake and hope more people will see it.”
After Wenchuan earthquake, the authorities refused
to publish the number or list of students killed in the
earthquake. Nobody was punished or blamed for the
shabby school buildings and no investigation reports
on the collapsed buildings were released.
The authorities did not even attempt to investigate.
So, Ai Weiwei started the public investigation and
sent volunteers to the stricken regions to collect
students’ names, schools and classes.
However, the investigation was interrupted by police.
Tan Zuoren, a Sichuan environmental activist who
participated in the investigation was jailed last year.
Now Ai Weiwei also disappeared.
NTD reporters Qin Xue and Huang Rong