Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Football, fraud and FIFA

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

US procecutors investigate bribery in 2010 world cup bid

Read more

DEBATE

FIFA Corruption Scandal: Top officials indicted on US corruption charges (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

FIFA Corruption Scandal: Top officials indicted on US corruption charges (part 1)

Read more

ENCORE!

Film Show: 'The Measure of a Man', 'My Golden Days' and vintage Spielberg

Read more

FOCUS

Thailand cracks down on human traffickers amid worsening migrant crisis

Read more

FACE-OFF

Radical left surges in Spain: A domino effect in France?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Could Johnny Depp be jailed over dog row in Oz?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Nabi Saleh, the West Bank town holding protests since 2009

Read more

Asia-pacific

Outspoken artist Weiwei detained by authorities, staff say

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-04-03

Chinese authorities detained artist and government critic Ai Weiwei as he boarded a flight for Hong Kong on Sunday before raiding his studio and detaining his assistants for questioning, according to Twitter postings by his staff.

AFP - Outspoken Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was detained on Sunday as he tried to board a flight for Hong Kong and police later raided his studio outside Beijing, Twitter postings by his staff said.
              
The move comes just days after Ai, one of China's best-known artists, announced plans for a studio abroad to avoid official harassment and as Chinese authorities crack down hard on government critics.
              
Ai, who helped design Beijing's famed "Bird's Nest" Olympic stadium but who has antagonised the Communist Party government with his activism, was detained by customs officers at Beijing airport, the Twitter postings said.
              
Chinese authorities have rounded up scores of dissidents, activists, and right lawyers in recent weeks, with many placed under house arrest or disappearing into police custody.
              
The clampdown followed anonymous online calls which emerged in February for protests each Sunday around the country to demand political change in China and aimed at emulating those that have rocked the Arab world.
              
Ai had said Tuesday he planned to set up a studio in Germany to show his work, fed up with the hurdles of exhibiting in China, but would still use Beijing as his production and design base.
              
"It's very discouraging what's happening here and if I want to continue to develop my work, I have to find a base," said the burly, goateed avant-garde artist.
              
The Twitter postings -- which indicated they were written by one of Ai's assistants -- said a group of police also arrived at his studio in Beijing's Caochangdi art district to execute a search warrant.
              
Police also took away eight of his staff members for questioning, a posting said, while his wife Lu Qing was under police custody at their home.
              
Ai's personal cell phone was turned off and calls to his studio and one of his assistants went unanswered.
              
A frequent critic of China's Communist Party leaders, Ai has repeatedly run into problems with the authorities in the past.
              
He said in February that his first large solo exhibition in mainland China was cancelled after organisers said the timing was too politically sensitive.
              
In January, his newly built Shanghai studio was demolished in apparent retaliation for his criticism of city policies, and he was blocked from leaving China in December ahead of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo for jailed Chinese dissident writer Liu Xiaobo.
              
Previously, Ai investigated school collapses in the massive 2008 quake in the southwestern province of Sichuan, which many believe were triggered by shoddy construction work.
             

 

Date created : 2011-04-03

  • CHINA

    China cracks down on protests inspired by Arab revolts

    Read more

  • CHINA

    Officials to 'nip social conflict in the bud' after police prevent protests

    Read more

  • China

    Blind China activist is beaten by police, rights group claims

    Read more

COMMENT(S)