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Timing is everything: Ai Weiwei detained on his way to Hong Kong

On April 3, 2011, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who designed Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium, was detained at immigration control when traveling to Hong Kong. His studio was raided and Chinese officials have not released him or commented on his whereabouts. Perhaps he was coming to Hong Kong to attend an art auction, perhaps not but according to Ai’s wife: “This time it’s extremely serious. . .  They searched his studio and took discs and hard drives and all kinds of stuff, but the police haven’t told us where he is or what they’re after. There’s no information about him.”

The actions were denounced by other Chinese activists as well as by the United States embassy and European Union delegation in Beijing. In addition, an online petition to “free Ai Weiwei” was launched on Twitter ( Even though, Chinese internet censorship stops most Chinese people from seeing, many of the signatures seem to be by Chinese people able to penetrate the censorship barriers.

According to the ArtDaily, up to now, Ai has been “somewhat protected by his fame and by being the son of a famed Communist poet, Ai Qing. His extended detention suggested the Party was re-drawing the boundaries of what it would tolerate, said dissidents and scholars.”

To avoid own detention, authors of this blog waited to report on Ai until after leaving HK.