Ai Weiwei Update: 04.29.11

Twenty-five days since Ai Weiwei disappeared, and counting.

A new petition calls on international artists, galleries and museums to stop showing work in China. Says the drive posted at Avaaz.org, "We’ll deliver it at the Venice Biennale exhibition soon, and publish the reactions of major galleries and artists." More than 53,000 people have signed.

• Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi tweets about the attack by Chinese hackers -- first confirmed by Eyeteeth -- on Change.org for hosting a petition, now at 126,000 signatories, calling for China to release Ai. According to the San Fransciso Chronicle, the Denial of Service attack, coming from Chinese IP addresses, continues.

• Ai's friend, musician Zuoxiao Zuzhou, tweets “Everything is ok now, thanks for your concerns," after disappearing for several days. Via ANIMAL.

• Didi Kirsten Tatlow, writing from China for the New York Times: "An outspoken artist angers rulers with his savage, satirical wit. A crusader for political freedom and social justice, he lives in fear of arrest. Beaten and jailed, he becomes famous far beyond the borders of his land. That was Voltaire, the hero of Europe’s 18th-century Enlightenment. It is also Ai Weiwei..."

Time Out London's March interview with Ai is wide-ranging, eerily prescient and instructive about the state of Chinese authoritarianism, from foreign journalists being punched for covering news to a young Chinese person being arrested for placing a white flower on the ground to this:
[O]n the Chinese internet you cannot type any sentence with the word 'tomorrow' in it -- the word 'tomorrow' has become a sensitive word.Because maybe people will say, “Tomorrow we will all walk in Wang Fu Jing.” [The central spot in Beijing for the recent jasmine protest activity]. At the same time you cannot type, 'today'. The machine will just take anything with 'today' in it. [Laughs] It's really amazing that you can't use the words tomorrow and today. So you can see how extremely nervous they have become. And there's no discussion, no intellectual exchanges or argument. It's so much like Chinese parents from the olden times, where the children just had to listen to them without showing any sign of disagreement, or questioning, or different attitudes. To try and challenge the economic and political situation today is not going to be OK. That is going to be devastating. This nation has had no creativity for the past 100 years.

1 comment:

Mao said...

Ai Weiwei is missing, but his colleagues and the Beijing arts community parties on. Amazing, in spite of all the international outrage, protests, and pleading for information about the detained artist, in his home district, right by his house, his friends and foreign officials drink wine, and marvel at advancements of China’s art scene, without a single banner or mention of Ai Weiwei. And the media joins in by ignoring the shameful hypocrisy. http://chinareallysucks.com/Site/New_Stuff/Entries/2011/4/30_Ai_Weiwei%3A_missing%2C_not_even_mentioned_.html