• NYU law professor Jerome Cohen notes that Ai's legal counsel hasn't been permitted to meet with him; he says the artist's case illustrates how "far China’s police are not only from adhering to the standards of fair criminal justice enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the government signed in 1998 but has yet to ratify, but also from adhering to their own country’s criminal procedure law." He writes:
[W]hatever the evidence being assembled about tax evasion or other charges, that this was not the motivation for Ai’s detention. This case started out on a “detain first and look for justification later” basis. If evidence sufficient to sustain a conviction is found, the case will become a preeminent example of what criminal justice experts call “selective prosecution.” Ai has been singled out from a large number of potentially suspected offenders not because of the magnitude of any alleged economic crimes but because of his creative and eye-catching political challenges to the regime and his defense of human rights.• China wants to "deepen mutual understanding," as CNN puts it, in talks with the U.S. this week, but human rights -- including Ai Weiwei's detention -- is off the table.
• New York's Central Park will host Ai Weiwei's Circle of Animals: Zodiac Heads, but, oddly, the park department's press release reportedly doesn't mention Ai's ongoing imprisonment.
• First Ai, now Confucius? A 31-foot bronze statue of Confucius was removed from Tiananmen Square "under mysterious circumstances." Nobody has any answers about where the sculpture went, but ArtInfo.com notes:
Under Mao, Confucius was a banned figure, since the Communist leader saw his philosophy of harmony and submission to family and duty as dangerous remnants of China's feudal past. Now, on the home page of the hardline Communist Web site maoflag.net, the character for "demolish" has been scrawled on an image of the statue. A maoflag.net user named Jiangxi Li Jianjun exulted that "the statue of the slave-owning sorcerer Confucius has been driven from Tiananmen Square!"• In a visit to China, Swiss Interior Minister Didier Burkhalter made mention, if tepid, of Ai's plight.
• A video of Ai Weiwei graffiti in Hong Kong.
• ArtInfo: "Filmmaker Flees Capital After Beijing Documentary Festival Shutters Amid Crackdown on Intellectuals."
• The petition: 124,000 signatures strong.
Photo: Flier posted at Antoine Schweitzer via Doryun Chong.