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CNN: Ai Weiwei: Despite flaws, America should be proud

November 7, 2012

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In the aftermath of the 2012 U.S. elections, Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei comments on and compares the political systems in the U.S. and China.

For thousands of years, China has seen itself as the Middle Kingdom, the center of the universe -- a view that shapes China's understanding of the world and contributes to an indifferent attitude toward other countries.

The world may be watching the U.S. election, but China isn't concerned with who wins. And many here believe America has lost the credibility it once had on the world stage.

Unlike the 1960s or '70s, when America had a more convincing claim as the moral arbiter of the world, many Chinese officials now believe the United States is only concerned with its own economic gain.

In China there is little understanding of American society, or its politics. People stand on the sidelines of the Republican vs. Democrat debate; they don't pick up on the nuances of the discussion, and they can't tell the difference between the parties' positions.

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