Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei held incommunicado for 43 days, allowed to see wife for 20 minutes – Ai in ‘good physical health but mentally conflicted’Monday, 16 May, 2011
The following are some news of Chinees artist Ai Weiwei after he was held incommunicado for 43 days where his family and lawyer have no idea of his whereabout.
To give you some context about “criminal justice in China”, I took time to first post the entries “Criminal Justice In China: An Empirical Inquiry” (an entry about a research study 16 years in the making) and a BBC Chinese report & more “獨立調查：中國沒有司法公正” (machine translated to “Independent Study: There is no justice in China”).
“Red-eyed and tense, the usually uninhibited and irreverent Chinese artist Ai Weiwei seemed a different man in custody as he sat for what his wife says was a brief, monitored meeting — his first contact with the outside world in 43 days.
Authorities have still not detailed why the avant-garde artist and government critic was detained April 3 and held incommunicado, in a case that has prompted an outcry in the art world and among U.S. and EU officials, who have called it a sign of China’s deteriorating human rights.
The burly, bearded 53-year-old appeared conflicted and his eyes were puffy when his wife Lu Qing was allowed to visit him Sunday, though he seemed healthy, Lu told The Associated Press.
“He has changed. His mood and demeanor are so different from the simple and spontaneous Ai Weiwei I know,” Lu said Monday. “It was obvious that without freedom to express himself he was not behaving naturally even with me.”
Lu said she sat face to face with her husband during the meeting in a room at an unknown location and that they were watched by someone “who seemed to be in charge of Ai,” and another who took notes. Ai repeatedly assured her he was physically OK: “My health is good. I am fine, don’t worry.””
* UK Telegraph, “Ai Weiwei limbo shines a light into the shadows of China’s police state“
* UK Telegraph, “Ai Weiwei allowed to see family – The controversial Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been granted his first family visit 43 days, appearing stressed but otherwise in good health, his wife has said.“
* UK Guardian, “Ai Weiwei in ‘good physical health but mentally conflicted’“
* For those that are not too familiar of Ai’s work, BBC has a good video “Celebrating the artwork of Ai Weiwei“
Torontoist, “Scene: Where is Ai Weiwei?“
Protest pictures, details and comments posted onto the worldwide 1001 Chairs for Ai Weiwei Facebook group. Pix from New York City here, here, here. Pix from Munich here.
This Sunday, at Chinese embassies all over the world, protesters are planning a global sit-in to protest the detention of the internationally renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Ai was taken into custody by Chinese authorities nearly two weeks ago for what government officials now say are questions about his finances.
The protesters will be bringing chairs to sit on. They aren’t worried about getting tired. The design of the protest is a homage to a piece by Ai that was exhibited in 2007 at Documenta 12, a major arts festival in Kassel, Germany. Read the rest of this entry »
“Demonstrators all over the world were sitting outside Chinese embassies on Sunday demanding the release of the detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.
Hundreds of protestors brought chairs onto the street tocall for the immediate release of Ai, and in support of the rights of all Chinese artists.
In Hong Kong there were scuffles as 150 protestors came up against lines of police, with reports of at least one detention. In Berlin, about 200 people took part in a largely silent protest. There was also a gathering outside the Chinese embassy in London.”
* Al Jazeera, “Protest in Hong Kong over Ai Weiwei detention“
You have spent a lot of time with Ai Weiwei over the last couple of years, during which time he has been increasingly publicly critical of the Chinese regime. Could you describe the issues about which he has been most vocal?
Ai’s denunciation of the Olympic Games and the Olympic stadium as the “false smile” of an authoritarian regime shed light on Weiwei’s activism in China, but the issue that he was most vocal about — and where he inserted himself into the Chinese conscience — was his citizen’s investigation into the deaths of more than 5,000 schoolchildren in poorly constructed schools during the May 2008 earthquake in Sichuan. Over his Twitter feed, Ai solicited over 70 volunteers to independently record the names, ages, classrooms and villages of the dead. Read the rest of this entry »
China’s human rights crackdown – interactive guide, UK Guardian
“Chinese authorities have made their biggest move against dissidents and activists for years, including artist Ai Weiwei. The crackdown followed an anonymous online call for protests inspired by Middle Eastern uprisings, although it is unclear if any of those held or missing were connected to the appeal. Information is from human rights groups and inquiries by the Guardian”