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Chinese Dissident & Government Critic Ai Weiwei is Snatched Up by Authorities

Chinese Dissident & Government Critic Ai Weiwei is Snatched Up by Authorities

Apr 11th, 2011 • Posted in: News

U.S. and other nations demand his release; Iowa senator prods Chinese president, asking for whereabouts of “dungeon” where dissident was cast



Human-rights issues involving China’s treatment of a prominent dissident surfaced last week after the detention of China’s most famous artist, Ai Weiwei.

The Voice of America reports that the United States and other nations have urged China to release Ai, who was detained in Beijing while attempting to board a plane to Hong Kong.

Ai had written a controversial opinion piece last year in which he questioned whether “a state based on limiting information flows and freedom of speech can remain powerful,” and if so, “what kind of monster” would it become, reports the Wall Street Journal.

“Ai, 53, a stocky, bearded avant-garde artist and designer, who helped design the Bird’s Nest stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, is a committed opponent of single-party rule in China. Until now, it appeared that his international status and his position as the son of a legendary Communist poet, Ai Qing, had saved him from being detained, but it appears that in the current environment, this is not enough,” writes the Irish Times’s Beijing correspondent Clifford Coonan. “The Chinese government is keeping a lid on dissent as it fears contagion from the ‘Jasmine Revolutions’ sweeping the Middle East, and also wants to keep China on an even keel ahead of next year’s transfer of power.”

Ai had also drawn ire from the government for his criticism of alleged corruption in the construction of the schools that collapsed in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

Late last week, reports the Agence France-Presse, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa alleged that Chinese president Hu Jintao had put Ai in a “dungeon” and demanded to know the artist’s whereabouts. In a Twitter posting Grassley wrote, in the abbreviated and sometimes jumbled jargon of a typo-ridden tweet: “Chairman Hu I demand to know inwhich dungeon u hv dumped Ai Weiwei. Freedom loving people aronnd the world hv right to know.”


Despite the troubles we have here in the US, reading stuff like this makes me happy to be living here.  What the heck is that government so worried its people are going to find out?  We could not imagine having our internet censored by the government, in fact I am pretty sure we would revolt over something like that. 

All the Chinese government is going to accomplish with these kinds of tactics is to paint itself in a corner.  I feel for the people of China, despite the repression the government imposes on them I think the majority of its people have a strong pride for their heritage.  I do hope the government over there lightens up a bit.

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