Saturday, April 9, 2011
One week ago, internationally admired Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was arrested by the Chinese government. Chinese officials have claimed that the artist was arrested on suspicion of "economic crimes" in keeping with the "rule of law" in China. Fierce international condemnation by foreign nations and art institutions around the world has followed. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has even summoned Chinese ambassador Wu Hongbo to discuss the detention of Ai Weiwei, who has close links with Germany and planned to open a studio in the capital.
This arrest is but one in a series of offensive actions against Ai Weiwei by the Chinese government in recent weeks. In January his brand new, million-dollar Shanghai studio was demolished after the government claimed the building was illegal because proper application procedures had not been followed. He has also been taken into custody previously; he was severely beaten during one of those arrests and there is great concern about the manner in which he is being treated now.
International media sources are paying a lot of attention to this latest effort by the Chinese government. For more information about this unfolding story, we encourage our readers to view the following useful links:
* New York Times: Chinese Defend Detention of Artist on Grounds of ‘Economic Crimes’
* The Guardian: China says Ai Weiwei detention 'nothing to do with human rights'
* ArtInfo: Leaders of the Tate, MoMA, the Guggenheim, and Other Top Museums Join Art Figures in Demanding That China "Release Ai Weiwei"