His provocative blend of Chinese history and tradition within a wholly contemporary practice serves as a form of human rights activism, cultural commentary, and critique of the global imbalance of power—a fact that has turned Ai into a political target. Because China is mine. I will not leave something that belongs to me in the hands of people I do not trust. Detained for 81 days by the Chinese government in , the artist was released without ever being officially charged with a crime. Ai continues to live and work in Beijing, China.
Ai Weiwei results. Load More. Back to Top. In the end, the party took place without Weiwei's presence; his supporters feasted on river crab, an allusion to "harmony", and a euphemism used to jeer official censorship.
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Ai was released from house arrest the next day. Like other activists and intellectuals, Ai was prevented from leaving China in late Ai suggested that the authorities wanted to prevent him from attending the ceremony in December to award the Nobel Peace Prize to fellow dissident Liu Xiaobo. Ai said that he had not been invited to the ceremony, and was attempting to travel to South Korea for a meeting when he was told that he could not leave for reasons of national security. In the evening of 11 January , Ai's studio was demolished in a surprise move by the local government.
On 3 April , Ai was arrested at Beijing Capital International Airport just before catching a flight to Hong Kong and his studio facilities were searched. A police contingent of approximately 50 officers came to his studio, threw a cordon around it and searched the premises. They took away laptops and the hard drive from the main computer; along with Ai, police also detained eight staff members and Ai's wife, Lu Qing.
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Police also visited the mother of Ai's two-year-old son. While state media originally reported on 6 April that Ai was arrested at the airport because "his departure procedures were incomplete," the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on 7 April that Ai was arrested under investigation for alleged economic crimes. Then, on 8 April, police returned to Ai's workshop to examine his financial affairs. Ai's wife said that she was summoned by the Beijing Chaoyang district tax bureau, where she was interrogated about his studio's tax on 12 April.
South China Morning Post reports that Ai received at least two visits from the police, the last being on 31 March — three days before his detention — apparently with offers of membership to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. A staff member recalled that Ai had mentioned receiving the offer earlier, "[but Ai] didn't say if it was a membership of the CPPCC at the municipal or national level, how he responded or whether he accepted it or not.
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What a jasmine! Analysts and other activists said Ai had been widely thought to be untouchable, but Nicholas Bequelin from Human Rights Watch suggested that his arrest, calculated to send the message that no one would be immune, must have had the approval of someone in the top leadership. International governments, human rights groups and art institutions, among others, called for Ai's release, while Chinese officials did not notify Ai's family of his whereabouts.
State media started describing Ai as a "deviant and a plagiarist" in early Objectively speaking, Chinese society does not have much experience in dealing with such persons. However, as long as Ai Weiwei continuously marches forward, he will inevitably touch the red line one day. It said "Ai's detention is one of the many judicial cases handled in China every day. It is pure fantasy to conclude that Ai's case will be handled specially and unfairly. The term possesses a double meaning in Chinese: one possible interpretation was given by Sheridan as: "Fuck your mother, the party central committee".
Ming Pao in Hong Kong reacted strongly to the state media's character attack on Ai, saying that authorities had employed "a chain of actions outside the law, doing further damage to an already weak system of laws, and to the overall image of the country. Supporters said "the article should be seen as a mainland media commentary attacking Ai, rather than as an accurate account of the investigation.
One of the major protests by U. The hour sit-in referenced Ai's sculpture series, Marble Chair , two of which were on view and were subsequently acquired for the Museum's permanent collection. The Solomon R.
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Guggenheim Foundation and the International Council of Museums, which organised petitions, said they had collected more than 90, signatures calling for the release of Ai. On 16 May , the Chinese authorities allowed Ai's wife to visit him briefly. Liu Xiaoyuan, his attorney and personal friend, reported that Wei was in good physical condition and receiving treatment for his chronic diabetes and hypertension; he was not in a prison or hospital but under some form of house arrest. On 22 June , the Chinese authorities released Ai from jail after almost three months' detention on charges of tax evasion.
Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd. State media also reports that Ai was granted bail on account of Ai's "good attitude in confessing his crimes", willingness to pay back taxes, and his chronic illnesses. According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, he is prohibited from leaving Beijing without permission for one year. Ai's supporters widely viewed his detention as retaliation for his vocal criticism of the government. On 23 June , professor Wang Yujin of China University of Political Science and Law stated that the release of Ai on bail shows that the Chinese government could not find any solid evidence of Ai's alleged "economic crime".
After his release, his sister gave some details about his detention condition to the press, explaining that he was subjected to a kind of psychological torture: he was detained in a tiny room with constant light, and two guards were set very close to him at all times, and watched him constantly. In November, Chinese authorities were again investigating Ai and his associates, this time under the charge of spreading pornography.
Lu was subsequently questioned by police, and released after several hours though the exact charges remain unclear.
Camille the pen name of a Chinese-born writer living in New York , "neither a journalist nor an activist but simply an art lover who wanted to talk to him" had travelled to Beijing the previous September to conduct the interview and to write about his visit to "China's most famous dissident artist" for the magazine.
On 21 June , Ai's bail was lifted. Although he is allowed to leave Beijing, the police informed him that he is still prohibited from traveling to other countries because he is "suspected of other crimes," including pornography, bigamy and illicit exchange of foreign currency. Until , he remained under heavy surveillance and restrictions of movement, but continues to criticize through his work. In July , he was given a passport and may travel abroad. Ai's family state that Ai is "neither the chief executive nor the legal representative of the design company, which is registered in his wife's name.
Offers of donations poured in from Ai's fans across the world when the fine was announced. Eventually an online loan campaign was initiated on 4 November , and close to 9 million RMB was collected within ten days, from 30, contributions.
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Notes were folded into paper planes and thrown over the studio walls, and donations were made in symbolic amounts such as 4 June , Tiananmen Massacre or 12 May , Sichuan earthquake. To thank creditors and acknowledge the contributions as loans, Ai designed and issued loan receipts to all who participated in the campaign. Funds raised from the campaign were used as collateral, required by law for an appeal on the tax case.
Lawyers acting for Ai submitted an appeal against the fine in January ; the Chinese government subsequently agreed to conduct a review.
In June , the court heard the tax appeal case. Ai's wife, Lu Qing, the legal representative of the design company, attended the hearing. Lu was accompanied by several lawyers and an accountant, but the witnesses they had requested to testify, including Ai, were prevented from attending a court hearing.
Ai asserts that the entire matter — including the 81 days he spent in jail in — is intended to suppress his provocations. Ai said he had no illusions as to how the case would turn out, as he believes the court will protect the government's own interests.
On 20 June, hundreds of Ai's supporters gathered outside the Chaoyang District Court in Beijing despite a small army of police officers, some of whom videotaped the crowd and led several people away. On 20 July, Ai's tax appeal was rejected in court. The same day Ai's studio released "The Fake Case" which tracks the status and history of this case including a timeline and the release of official documents.
On 27 September, the court upheld the 2. Ai had previously deposited 1.
Ai said he will not pay the remainder because he does not recognize the charge. In October , authorities revoked the license of Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd for failing to re-register, an annual requirement by the administration. The company was not able to complete this procedure as its materials and stamps were confiscated by the government. The exhibition was held to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the art prize created by Uli Sigg in , with the purpose of promoting and developing Chinese contemporary art. Ai won the Lifetime Contribution Award in and was part of the jury during the first three editions of the prize.
He was then invited to take part in the group show together with the other selected Chinese artists. Shortly before the exhibition's opening, some museum workers removed his name from the list of winners and jury members painted on a wall. Sigg declared that it was not his decision and that it was a decision of the Power Station of Art and the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Culture.