Chinese Artist and Activist Ai Weiwei Held for ‘Economic Crimes’
Follow @azmatzahraApril 4, 2011, 12:28 pm ET
[Updated] Four days after he was taken into custody, the Chinese government officially announced on Thursday it is investigating famed artist Ai Weiwei for suspected “economic crimes.” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei did not specify the nature of the charges in greater detail, but warned other countries to “respect China’s decision.”
Police detained Ai on his way to board a flight to Hong Kong last Sunday, and simultaneously raided his studio. In the process, they confiscated computers, hard drives, CDs and notebooks, and questioned his wife, Lu Qing, nephew and eight studio assistants. His detention follows a wave of recent crackdowns on prominent Chinese writers, lawyers and activists.
Just last week, FRONTLINE aired a report profiling how Ai, China’s first ‘global art star,’ has confronted Chinese authorities through his art and activism. As you can see in the clip above, his defiance has been met with surveillance, detention and even physical attack from police.
Since his detention, Ai’s online presence has been taken over by his staff. Here’s a sampling of their tweets on his Twitter account, translated into English*:
*English Twitter translations courtesy of the Bird’s Nest Tumblr.
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