Ai Weiwei Held in China

Ai Weiwei Held in China

Chinese artist and designer Ai Weiwei was detained by police at the Beijing airport before he could take a flight to Hong Kong yesterday. Even if you haven’t seen his current exhibition at London’s Tate Modern or those at Munuch’s Haus der Kunst and Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, you still may know his work.  Ai Weiwei helped design the “Birds Nest Stadium” for the 2008 Olympics, the National Stadium of the People’s Republic of China.

Mr. Ai, as well known for his brash personality and dissident beliefs as for his art and design work, has been called the “Scholar Clown.” Chinese police once detained him when he threw a party to protest the government’s seizure and demolition of his Shanghai studio. After the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, he investigated a cover-up of shoddy school construction that led to the deaths of over 5,000 children . Ai Weiwei’s international reputation and that of his late father, poet Ai Qing, were once believed to have kept him from stronger penalties, but he was severely beaten by Chinese police on August 12, 2009 and was hospitalized in Europe for his injuries.



“Chinese artist Ai Weiwei arrested in latest government crackdown,” Keith B. Richburg, Washington Post

“Arts interview: Ai Weiwei,” John Sunyer, New Statesman

 “Escape from propaganda,” Julian Worrall, Japan Times

 “Digital Activism in China: A Discussion Between Ai Weiwei, Jack Dorsey and Richard MacManus,” Frederic Lardinois, ReadWriteWeb

 “David Cameron, as you visit China please listen to us,” Ai Weiwei, The Guardian

“Ai Weiwei in the Rubble,” Amy Davidson, The New Yorker blog

 “Who’s Afraid of Ai Weiwei?” Frontline, PBS

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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11 Responses to “Ai Weiwei Held in China”

  1. Mike Licht Says:


    “Ai Weiwei still missing after being held by Chinese police,” Tania Branigan, The Guardian

    “We Should Have Seen Ai Weiwei’s Detainment Coming,” Ray Gustini, Atlantic Wire

    “Ai Weiwei Detained,” Evan Osnos, New Yorker blog

    “Top 10 Persecuted Artists,” Time Magazine Ai Weiwei rated #1

  2. Mike Licht Says:


    “Ai Weiwei’s detention in China causes growing global concern,” Tania Branigan, Mark Brown and Charlotte Higgins, The Guardian

    “Ai Weiwei’s wife fears for his safety,” Peter Foster, Daily Telegraph

    “Furor escalates over China’s detention of artist Ai Weiwei,” Jamil Anderlini, Washington Post

    “International outcry over Chinese artist’s detention,” Clifford Coonan, Irish Times

    “Art world denounces Ai Weiwei’s disappearance,” Bonnie Rosenberg, The Art Newspaper

    “Free Ai Weiwei, radical individualist and China’s great national artist,” Globe and Mail editorial

    “’Love the Future!’: Netizens Show Support for Ai Weiwei,” China Digital Times

    “Chinese artist and activist, Ai Weiwei, still missing after arrest,” Kathleen E. McLaughlin, GlobalPost

    “Ai Weiwei: Disturbing the Peace,” Evan Osnos, New Yorker

  3. Mike Licht Says:


    “Where is Ai Weiwei?” Connie Young, CBS News

    “China Dismisses International Concern Over Missing Artist Activist,” Stephanie Ho, VOA News

    “Where is Ai Weiwei?” William J. Dobson, Washington Post

    “Ai WeiWei: China faces calls to release information on wherabouts of artist,” Peter Foster, Daily Telegraph

    “Ai Weiwei is investigated by Chinese police for ‘economic crimes,'” Tania Branigan, The Guardian

    “Ai Weiwei’s Path From Cultural Prankster to Enemy of the State,” Ben Davis, ARTINFO

  4. Mike Licht Says:


    “Profile: Ai Weiwei,” BBC News

    “China Confirms Detention Of Artist Ai Weiwei,” Holly Williams, Sky News

    “China: Ai Weiwei Faces Economic Charges,” Tini Tran, AP via Time

    Ai Weiwei’s family speak out against investigation,” Malcom Moore, Daily Telegraph

  5. Mike Licht Says:


    “Ai Weiwei on Modern China,” The Globalist

    “Chinese Foreign Ministry transcript removes all references to detained artist Ai Weiwei,” AP via Washington Post

    “Hong Kongers to Protest for Ai Weiwei’s Release,” Cathy Yan, Wall Street Journal

    “Ai arrest highlights China’s crackdown,” Jaime FlorCruz, CNN

    “Ai Weiwei points to a bigger picture,” Clarissa Tan, The Spectator blog

    “Bob Dylan and Ai Weiwei,” Will Gompertz , BBC blog

  6. Mike Licht Says:


    “Films on detained China artist to screen in Taiwan,” AFP via Straits Times

    “London art gallery Tate calls for China Ai’s release,” China Post

    “Museums demand release of Ai Weiwei in petition,” David Ng, Los Angeles Times blog

    “Ai Weiwei, an artist whose work is freedom,” CNN Opinion

  7. Mike Licht Says:


    “Ai Weiwei held for ‘obscene’ political art,” Michael Sheridan, The Australian

    “Ai accused of ‘ideas’ theft,” Bloomberg via Sydney Morning Herald

    “China Tells Outsiders Not to Meddle in Probe of Olympic Artist,” Bloomberg News

    “Tate Modern protest calls for release of missing Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei,” Vanessa Thorpe and Tania Branigan, The Observer

    “China says U.S. human rights outcry is interference,” Reuters via
    “Ai Weiwei: Seeds of an iconoclast,” Clifford Coonan, The Independent

    “Detention serves only to halt China’s progress,” William Pesek, Sydney Morning Herald

    “A Provocateur Finds Out Just How Far He Can Go,” by Blake Gopnik, Newsweek

  8. Mike Licht Says:


    “Chinese associates of Ai Weiwei reported missing,” Tania Branigan, The Guardian

  9. Mike Licht Says:


    “China: Artists call for release of detained dissident Ai Weiwei,” Kathleen E. McLaughlin, GlobalPost

    “Chinese officials question Ai Weiwei’s wife,” Tania Branigan, The Guardian

    “Ai Weiwei : ‘China… is just like the Middle Ages,'” Benedict Moore-Bridger, Evening Standard

    “Why Bob Dylan didn’t ring the chimes of freedom over Ai Weiwei” Jonathan Jones, The Guardian

  10. Mike Licht Says:


    “Merkel Asked for China for Artist Ai’s Release, Spiegel Reports,” Bloomberg

    “Ai Weiwei arrest: Chinese lawyer and designer are latest to disappear,” Tania Branigan, The Guardian

    “Protest outside Chinese embassy in Berlin over Ai Weiwei’s arrest,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur via Monsters & Critics

    “China ‘like the middle ages’, says arrested artist,” Charlotte Higgins, Mail & Guardian

    “Release Ai Weiwei: An Overseas Chinese Perspective,” Christine Wong Yap, New America Media

    “Protest in Hong Kong over Ai Weiwei detention,” Al Jazeera

    “Protesters Call for Release of Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei,” Arun Venugopal, WNYC

    “Ai Weiwei arrest protests at Chinese embassies worldwide,” Abby d’Arcy Hughes, The Guardian

    “The artist who took on China,” Leslie Hook, Financial Times

    “Over 1,000 march in Hong Kong for Ai’s freedom,” AFP via France 24

  11. ARTORICAL™ Says:

    I created a poster in solidarity for Ai Weiwei:

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