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Special Feature: Documents

“My Work Constitutes a Form of Participatory Action”

An Interview with Ai Xiaoming
Peng Yurong and Judith Pernin


Ai Xiaoming, born in 1953 in Wuhan, is a retired professor in the literature department of Guangzhou’s Sun Yat-Sen University. Following an academic career in comparative literature, she came out as a public intellectual, initially through involvement in defending women’s and gays rights. She organised many activities to raise awareness on issues such as discrimination and violence against women, the most famous of which was the translation and staging of The Vagina Monologueswith her students. While she initially used documentary filmmaking as a tool to record and disseminate these activities for educative purposes, she quickly extended her work on video to the documenting of current cases of public violations of rights. In the past few years, she has produced a corpus of around ten independent documentaries on subjects such as village elections and property rights, AIDS, and the Sichuan earthquake scandal. (JP)

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Electronic reference

Peng Yurong and Judith Pernin, ““My Work Constitutes a Form of Participatory Action””China Perspectives [Online], 2010/1 | 2010, Online since 01 April 2013, connection on 29 May 2023. URL:; DOI:

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