时 间：2014年5月30日 下午13:30
对 话 者：罗天 纽约时报中文网文化版助理编辑
Time: 30th May 2014 13:30
Location: The East Hotel, Indigo, Beijing
Method of Communication: Mobile Phone Call
Participants: Luo Tian The New York Times Chinese Edition Assistant Editor
Ai Weiwei: I have a question to ask you about Bao Dong. I have spoken to your editor-in-chief and she said Bao Dong could be considered an acquaintance. Let me ask you this, did you take the initiative to hire Bao Dong for this article or what?
Luo Tian: Yes, we approached him.
Ai Weiwei: Was it you or your editor-in-chief who approached him?
Luo Tian: I was the one who called him.
Ai Weiwei: So it was your idea to let Bao Dong write the article?
Luo Tian: Yes, because we...
Ai Weiwei: I'm sorry, I did not ask why you did it, I am simply asking for you to confirm the fact that you made this decision all by yourself, did you report to your editor-in-chief?
Luo Tian: I have before...
Ai Weiwei: This is to say you did not communicate with your editor-in-chief before doing this interview.
Luo Tian: yes, it was a telephone interview.
Ai Weiwei: Did you know Bao Dong wrote an article about Wang Qingwei back when Wang Qingwei held an exhibition?
Luo Tian: No, I had no idea.
Ai Weiwei: You didn't know about the relationship between Bao Dong and Wang Qingwei?
Luo Tian: No, I didn't…
Ai Weiwei: And you didn't know about the relationship between him and Phil?
Luo Tian: That's right.
Ai Weiwei: You only know about the relationship between him and your editor-in-chief?
Luo Tian: All I know is that he writes reviews, so I gave him a call and asked him to write a review for us as a third party.
Ai Weiwei: How many reviews has he done for the New York Times Chinese Edition?
Luo Tian: I'm not really sure, I got his phone number from before, so I went ahead and gave him a call.
Ai Weiwei: So it just happened that his phone number was on your table and you called him?
Luo Tian: Yes, we were looking for someone completely unrelated to this exhibition, someone who is neither from your side nor the exhibitor's side...
Ai Weiwei: Let me put it this way, Bao Dong is closely connected to the UCCA, Phil and Wang Qingwei, and he has made personal attacks against me before, what do you have to say for your decision in hiring this person?
Luo Tian: I honestly had no idea he has made person attacks against you in the past, and I don't know how closely related he is to the UCCA, I thought he was an independent reviewer.
Ai Weiwei: And if I told you that all of this is true, then what would you have to say for your decisions? Do you think you have made a huge mistake?
Luo Tian: I do not think the decision we made was a mistake.
Ai Weiwei: If I told you all of this exists, if I confirmed that all of this is true, or if I prove to your boss at the New York Times that this was all a huge mistake, would you still consider you have made the right decision?
Luo Tian: This information has been provided by you, I have yet to confirm it.
Ai Weiwei: If all of that I have told you proved to be true, hypothetically, would you consider your article a neutral piece?
Luo Tian: If it was after the interviews have taken place... Logically speaking that would be wrong.
Ai Weiwei: You haven't fully understood what I'm saying. If I told you that Bao Dong's relationship with Wang Qingwei, with Phil and me is out of the ordinary, you didn't know at the time, but had you know about it would you still hire him?
Luo Tian: if I had been aware of the special connection between all of you, we would not have hired him. But we...
Ai Weiwei: Why wouldn't you, let's set the “but's” aside for now, why wouldn't you have?
Luo Tian: That is because we want to report objectively.
Ai Weiwei: What you are saying is, if you’d had known you wouldn’t have, because you aim to report objectively. And if you have already done so, would you admit to reporting subjectively?
Luo Tian: I do not admit to reporting subjectively.
Ai Weiwei: That is a contradiction to what you have said.
Luo Tian: You are contradicting yourself as well, I am telling you we did not this person has a different standpoint beforehand.
Ai Weiwei: My assumptions are very clear, what I am saying is vey clear. I said if you’d had known about all of this, his relationship with Wang Qingwei, his relationship with Phil, and the unusual relationship between him and I, yet you still chose to publish his article, then you would think this article is…
Luo Tian: We did not publish his article. All we did was interview him over the phone…
Ai Weiwei: I will ask you another question. If you had done your research, found out that his relationship with both the UCCA and Wang Qingwei is out of the ordinary, and he had some sort of malicious attitude towards me, would you still interview him?
Luo Tian: That is not up to me to decide.
Ai Weiwei: Your editor-in-chief makes the decision, right?
Luo Tian: Yes, that’s right.
Ai Weiwei: You said you did not communicate with anyone before the interview, you just went ahead and did it.
Luo Tian: Yes.
Ai Weiwei: Is that correct?
Luo Tian: Yes, our editor-in-chief gave me his contact, but…
Ai Weiwei: Who gave you his contact?
Luo Tian: I saved his number from when we last spoke over the phone.
Ai Weiwei: So you bypassed your editorial department, and went ahead and called him.
Luo Tian: Yes.
Ai Weiwei: And this is because you were oblivious of the unusual relationship between him and I.
Luo Tian: Yes.
Ai Weiwei: Would you have done it if you had been aware of it?
Luo Tian: If that was the case, I would probably take it to our editor-in-chief, see if there are other neutral, better suited candidates. But this is all hypothetical, because I had no knowledge of all this.
Ai Weiwei: Which is to say you did not do a background check on this person.
Luo Tian: We did not, because we did not pick up on anything unusual during our conversations, or the unusual relationship between the two of you.
Ai Weiwei: I am not only referring to myself. Out of all the curators you could have chosen, you picked someone who is closely related to the three main people involved. He was hired by the UCCA to curate one of their major exhibitions, the New York Times Chinese Edition might even have reported it. Furthermore, he wrote an extensive essay on Wang Qingwei’s exhibition, no one is as closely related to the UCCA as he is, which is why what you said earlier does not hold up. As to his relationship with me, I can dig out the texts and prove it to you. The way I speak can be considered sharp or even harsh, but I only speak the truth, do you understand? If you still do not understand what I am trying to say under these circumstances, then I will have to consider is this, if you had knowledge of all of the above, would you still have hired him to write this article?
Luo Tian: This is not something I can answer to.
Ai Weiwei: You made the call, which means you are responsible for this for the most part. Would you still have written this article?
Luo Tian: This article had to be written.
Ai Weiwei: I am asking you, not your editorial department. What I am asking is, after hearing about the facts, would you as an individual repeat the steps you took in hiring him to write the article?
Luo Tian: This is… I cannot answer to that.
Ai Weiwei: Why can’t you answer this question? I am asking you hypothetically, I will prove it to you. And you better not avoid my questions this call is being recorded.
Luo Tian: I know our conversation is being recorded, that is why I think…
Ai Weiwei: I am not the only one recording this conversation. the police are listening to you as you speak.
Luo Tian: I understand… I don’t think I have made any mistakes throughout the process of interviewing, writing and editing this article…
Ai Weiwei: All I am saying is, as someone involved, someone who you have assaulted, for me to point these issues out to you, I just want to figure out what the New York Times would do hypothetically when they find out that their interviewee is not neutral nor just?
Luo Tian: It’s like this, we have no right to judge whether the interviewee is neutral or just, ultimately, they are the ones responsible for the mistakes they make during interviews. All we are response for is to record the contents of the interviews, so even if they are subjective towards an issue it is only their personal opinion.
Ai Weiwei: You’ve just made another error. You have the right to take your pick so you have no right to put the blame on others, you would not have just interviewed anybody, right? You said that you are the one making judgments on this article, not your editor-in-chief, so I want to ask you about your judgment. You mentioned earlier that the New York Times hoped to find an impartial third party to write the article, but now you are saying you cannot be certain as to whether he is just, isn’t that self-contradiction?
Luo Tian: What I said was, we want to report objectively.
Ai Weiwei: If you want to report objectively, shouldn’t you put in the equivalent amount of effort and collect different opinions from different sides?
Luo Tian: Yes, we have heard them out, and we have heard you out. This is a good article in a reader’s point of view as all three sides are equal, we did not indicate which side we are on.
Ai Weiwei: That’s not the case because he has his interests. He is about to write an article for you, someone who may be hired by you. He has written an article fro the UCCA, written an article for Wang Qingwei, and I have the evidence.
Luo Tian: It is true that he has written articles for us in the past, but that is not enough to determine whether we are subjective or not…
Ai Weiwei: That is not up to you to determine, it is up to the public to decide. So does this mean you support me in making these articles public, including this recording?
Luo Tian: I think it is inappropriate for you to make this phone call recording public.
Ai Weiwei: Why is that?
Luo Tian: That is because I am using my personal number to call you, this recording is not legally beneficial to you.
Ai Weiwei: It may not be legally beneficial but it does question your morality. I told you this call is being recorded but I do not wish to file a lawsuit against you, all I want is simply to show the world what editors at the New York Times Chinese Edition is like.
Luo Tian: I don’t think there is anything wrong with our characters, but if you are willing to show the world through this, then maybe you are willing to show the world the flaws in your character.
Ai Weiwei: Isn’t it great if I am eager to show the world my flaws?
Luo Tian: I don’t know if that is a good thing.
Ai Weiwei: It is because you have been avoiding the fundamental facts. I don’t reckon people like you should be working for the New York Times, you are better suited working for a tabloid because the way you think is not in line with that of the New York Times. You are in denial of the fundamental facts, this is the way tabloids or even magazines work. All I have been doing is try very hard to have a discussion with you on this, in return you make up excuses and try to cover it up.
Luo Tian: We did not make up excuses or try to cover it up…
Ai Weiwei: Are you still unwilling to tell me who approached Bao Dong?
Luo Tian: What do you mean unwilling to tell you who approached Bao Dong? I have already told you that I was the one who made the call.
Ai Weiwei: I spoke to your editor-in-chief for over an hour over this, she’s tried her best. I would simply like to know if your editor-in-chief approved of you approaching Bao Dong?
Luo Tian: Our editor-in-chief approved of it, this is a known fact to our editor-in-chief.
Ai Weiwei: You had to think this long before saying your editor-in-chief knew about it, is there something wrong with your brain?
Luo Tian: No.
Ai Weiwei: Why the hesitation then?
Luo Tian: I did not hesitate. All I said was I made the decision to call him and I was the one who made the call, which is what you have been asking me.
Ai Weiwei: Your articles need to be approved by your editor-in-chief?
Luo Tian: Yes it requires editing.
Ai Weiwei: That is all I wanted to ask over the phone, thank you.
Luo Tian: Alright, thank you.