Ai Weiwei Update: 04.13.11

• Video: Alison Klaymon, creator of the documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, introduces us to 38-year old Global Times journalist Wen Tao (pictured), a friend of Ai Weiwei's who was taken by plainclothes police hours after Ai was detained on Apr. 3; his whereabouts remain unknown, and no charges have been announced against him.

• Shortly before his arrest, Ai was reportedly invited, twice, to be part of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), "an advisory body made up of non-Communist party members, including high-profile figures such as artists and athletes." The body's role is "to engage influential figures outside the party." Ai's response to that query isn't known.

• Director Madeleine Grynsztejn and others at the MCA Chicago have signed on to the Guggenheim Foundation petition calling for Ai's release. The petition now has nearly 69,000 signatures.

• Artist An Xiao Mina is counting the hours since Ai's disappearance at 8:04 AM China Standard Time on Apr. 3 by placing one sunflower seed in a jar for each hour.

• Beijing-based political writer Russell Leigh Moses asks whether the Chinese Communist party has given up on reform.

• "Who's afraid of Ai Weiwei" stencils are appearing in Hong Kong.

• Random factoid: Ai reportedly has "ridiculous blackjack skills," and blackjack players are angered by his detention.

• Eerie to see Ai's Twitter feed -- home to more than 60,000 tweets -- silent. His last entry: April 3.

Ai Weiwei Update: 04.11.11
Ai Weiwei Update: 04.12.11

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