Concern for missing Chinese artist Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

The response from the West has been toothless. It is time now that China was referred to the UN’s Human Rights council, because these disappearances are such a departure from China commitment to UN mechanisms. — Nicholas Bequelin, Human Rights Watch Hong Kong

I didn’t care about jasmine at first, but people who are scared by jasmine sent out information about how harmful jasmine is often, which makes me realize that jasmine is what scares them the most. What a jasmine! — Ai Weiwei

There is growing concern for Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei 艾未未 who has not been seen since he was detained on Sunday whilst trying to board a plane in Bejing bound for Hong Kong.

His detention and disappearance is part of a crackdown by the Chinese authorities fearful of the spread of pro-democarcy protests as seen in the Middle East.

Beijing lawyer Liu Xiaoyan told the BBC he had been summoned by the police and held for 10 hours last Saturday after posting online notes asking about a missing Shanghai lawyer.

Ai Weiwei is an internationally renowned artist. He currently has an exhibition at the Tate Modern gallery in London. He was one of the designers of the iconic birds nest stadium at the Chinese Olympics. He is one of the fiercest critics of the Chinese government, his international reputation has until now safeguarded him from detention.

Ai Weiwei is the son of the late Ai Qing, one of China’s greatest modern poets, which may aslo up to now have afforded him a degree of protection.

To target Ai Weiwei, the order must have come from the top, which indicates a Tiananmen Square crackdown.

China has still to recognise and acknowledge that the Tiananmen Square massacre took place, to release all political prisoners, allow public debate of this terrible event in Chinese history.

Should Bob Dylan have played in China? Should he have have allowed the Communist leadership dictate the playlist?

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