Berlin (dpa) - The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (62) has spoken out for more humanity towards refugees in Germany.
"We all know how difficult a situation can be," said Ai Weiwei on Tuesday evening in Berlin during a discussion round of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. "But if we lose our compassion, what's left?"
Life means making progress and helping other people. "I was very impressed when I visited refugee homes, how much the people there helped each other and supported each other."
He himself had not chosen the subject of refugees. Governments and circumstances made people refugees, said the author of the book "Ai Weiwei - Manifesto without Borders". People on the run would have lost their land, their religion, their culture. "They only want one place." Refugees would not only come into existence through opposites like poor and rich or German and non-German. "It's about global conditions and how the world should develop."
Art is also controversial by definition, said Weiwei, who was temporarily imprisoned in his Chinese homeland because of his activities. As an artist, his opinion is also accepted in Germany. But he was denied the right to talk about refugees. Sometimes he has the impression that there is more interest in the pandas in the Berlin Zoo than in refugees. "That's childish," said the artist.
After four years in Berlin, Ai Weiwei turned her back on Germany to live with her family in Cambridge. When asked about his first experiences in his new home, he could hardly report impressions. "The British are currently deeply confused," said Ai Weiwei in view of the ongoing Brexit debate.