April 6th, 2011
05:33 PM ET

Where is Ai Weiwei?

AFP/Getty Images

China has broken its silence on the disappearance of dissident artist, Ai Weiwei. He has not been seen since Sunday, when authorities reportedly took him into custody.

Articles in the "Global Times, " a communist party newspaper, seem to confirm Ai Weiwei's arrest. He's refered to as "a maverick" that "the law will not concede to."

Ai Weiwei's exact whereabouts remain unclear. But there is no question that Western interference is unwelcome.

Western governments and human rights groups are calling for Ai Weiwei's release. An editorial in the "Global Times" blasted their demands.

The English version reads, "The West's behavior aims at disrupting the attention of Chinese society and attempts to modify the value system of the Chinese people."

But the Chinese-language version is much harsher. It says, "This is the root cause for Chinese people's loathing towards the West on this issue, when the West pressures China on the so-called 'human rights problems.'"

Ai Weiwei is one of China's best-known artists. But he has also been an outspoken critic of the government. His detention appears part of a growing high-profile crackdown on dissent in China.

Authorities have arrested and detained a number of lawyers and human rights activists amid calls for protests modeled after those in the Middle East. They join some prominent figures behind bars.

Perhaps the best known political prisoner is Liu Xiaobo. The writer was awarded last year's Nobel Peace Prize. He's said to be the author of "Charter 08" - a manifesto for democratic reform in China. Beijing accuses him of "inciting subversion of state power."

Western nations have repeatedly called for Liu's release. International groups have made the same demands for Chen Guangcheng and Gao Zhisheng.

Chen is a blind civil rights activist. He was released from prison in September but remains under house arrest. Gao is a prominent human rights lawyer. He has not been heard from since his disappearance last April.

CNN reports on Ai, Liu and other dissidents are usually blacked out in China. Their names are censored online. It remains to be seen if enough noise can be made about their treatment to force Beijing to listen.

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Filed under: China
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. cainandtoddbenson

    Banned Digital Art, on Chinese internet.

    “Ai Weiwei Freedom” 自由, 艾未未. Art, image. Ai Weiwei.


    April 7, 2011 at 5:10 am | Reply
  2. Susy

    Thanks for writing such an easy-to-udnestrnad article on this topic.

    June 24, 2011 at 7:16 am | Reply

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