Mr. Weiwei is well known for his involvement as a co-designer of Beijing’s Bird Nest Olympic Stadium. He, also, has exhibited at the Tate Modern in London. Acclaimed as the most famous Chinese artist known to outsiders, Mr. Weiwei is also a strong social critic of the Chinese Communist Party.
He was detained under suspicion of “economic crimes” at the Beijing airport before boarding a flight to Hong Kong. The New York Times reports that “economic crimes” has become a legal veil under which authorities are able to imprison critics of the current regime without disclosing the charges. Currently, the charges against the artist have not been disclosed and the investigation is ongoing.
The artist’s mother told the New York Times, “They must tell the family why and where they are holding my son.” She added “They have no right to keep us guessing. Where is the Constitution? Where is the law?” This continues the crackdown that began in late February after threats of protests in China led the government to issue numerous detainments, seizures, and house arrests.