Ai Weiwei Update: 04.21.11

Groninger Museum, Groningen, The Netherlands

• The Chinese hacker attack on Change.org for hosting the Free Ai Weiwei petition seems to have been a publicity boon: Before the attack, the petition had around 92,000 signatures; today it has more than 112,000.

• The denial of service attack continues, but in an email forwarded to Eyeteeth, Change.org's online marketing director says the group has hired a firm that specializes in DDOS attacks and that "we are now back at 100%." In a blog post, Change's Benjamin Joffe-Walt says the site is urging the U.S. State Department to break its silence and publicly condemn the attack. He asks supporters to tweet the following:
@statedept, condemn Chinese hacker attack on @guggenheim’s @change campaign to free Ai Weiwei @aiww: http://chn.ge/fnOU4H #freeaiww
• The Telegraph (UK) takes western governments to task for its "shameful silence" on Ai and the plight of other jailed dissidents in China: "[I]nstead of continuing with their craven kowtow towards Beijing, the leaders of the free world should stand together and demand the release of this brave man."

• Concurring with that sentiment are Guy Verhofstadt and Edward McMillan-Scott, former Belgian prime minister and vice presidenet of the European Parliament, respectively. Noting the west's "limp 'concern'" for Ai's safety, they write, "The EU and the U.S. should stand unequivocally behind reformists in the world's remaining tyrannies."

Salman Rushdie on Ai Weiwei: "We can perhaps bet on art to win over tyrants. It is the world’s artists, particularly those courageous enough to stand up against authoritarianism, for whom we need to be concerned, and for whose safety we must fight."

• Alison Klayman's film Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry should be ready for release "in the fall."

• John Zhang of The Epoch Times writes on the "Chinese media smear campaign" against Ai.

• Despite his detention, which began following his Apr. 3 arrest, Ai has been given a professorship at Berlin University of the Arts. A few days before his arrest, Ai said he'd be moving to Berlin to set up a studio, although he didn't plan on living there full time. "But I would have no other choice if my life or my existence were to be somehow threatened."

1 comment:

Ben Gage said...

When artists leave the safety of aesthetics, ideas can be powerful weapons....