Rather than inundate y'all with a series of Ai Weiwei posts, I'm going to start Bits-style update posts. The first:
• In Hong Kong, the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China marched "in support of Ai Weiwei, led by Hong Kong legislators Lee Cheuk-yan and Albert Ho and community activist Richard Tsoi" on Apr. 10 (above).
• In his last interview before being detained a week ago Sunday, Ai echoed sentiments German MPs shared last week: "China in many ways is just like the middle ages. China's control over people's minds and the flow of information is just like the time before the Enlightenment."
• China has said Ai is being held for "suspected economic crimes," but one news outlet, The Australian, is now saying his detention is the result of "obscene" art: a work that shows "the artist naked except for a toy horse concealing his genitals. The caption has a double meaning in Chinese, so millions of internet users have seen the six characters interpreted as: 'F . . . k your mother, the party central committee.'"
• More speculation about why Ai was detained without charge and remains incommunicado from his family. Even if the charge wasn't bogus, is plagiarism really grounds for disappearing someone in China these days?
• A US report on China's poor human rights record got a hasty response from Chinese officials: a slapped-together tome about alleged U.S. rights infractions, including the erroneous claim that the United States has the world's highest violent crime rate. One area we should be knocked for: the indefinite detention of Bradley Manning, the suspected Wikileaker who is reportedly being forced to sleep naked. Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union and others have decried the "inhumane treatment" of Manning by the U.S. government
• Redacting all ten questions about detained artist Ai Weiwei from the official transcript of a press conference is one thing, but censoring all time travel TV shows? That's what Chinese officials are doing, Boing Boing says. The reason: Such shows are disrespectful to history.
• Via the Free Ai Weiwei Facebook page, a letter from Ai's wife inquiring about her husband's situation:
Beijing, Central Commission for Discipline Inspection，
Secretary Ye Qingchun:
My name is Lu Qing, I am Ai Weiwei's wife. At 8 a.m. on April 3rd, 2011, Ai Weiwei arrived at the Beijing Capital Airport, Terminal T3, prepared to board flight CA111 to Hong Kong scheduled to depart at 9:30 a.m.
According to Ai Weiwei's assitant, Jeniffer, who was traveling with him, at around 8:04 a.m. while she and Ai Weiwei were in line for security checks, Ai Weiwei was led away by three uniformed airport security workers, from then on she was unable to communicate with him. After the flight took off, Jeniffer asked airport security about Ai Weiwei's whereabouts, to which they replied: Ai Weiwei has other business today, he cannot board the plane, we can not tell you the reasons why.
At around noon that same day, 60 policemen holding a search warrant from the Beijing City Police Department searched Ai Weiwei's studio and apartment (258 Caochangdi, Chaoyang district, Beijing) for over six hours, seizing over 129 computers, laptops, hard drives as well as dozens of personal items. They led me and the 9 other staff members present at that time to the Nangao local police station for questioning.
As of 8 p.m. today, it has been over 120 hours since the Beijing Capital Airport security officers detained Ai Weiwei, we have heard no news whatsoever.
We ask of the City Commission for Discipline Inspection to urge the city police bureau to:
1. Let us know why Ai Weiwei is detained.
2. Inform us of Ai Weiwei's daily location and conditions while imprisoned.
3. Inform the Public Security Bureau whether or not forceful measures were taken against Ai Weiwei, if any were taken, in accordance with the laws and regulations we ask the family members to undertake legal procedures.
April 8th, 2011,