For Immediate Release
AIUSA media relations office, 202-509-8194
China Detains Ai Weiwei as Warning Against Dissent, Says Amnesty International
WASHINGTON - The detention of China’s most famous artist and political critic, Ai Weiwei, is a troubling development in a widening crackdown on dissent that has seen dozens of activists detained over the last few months, Amnesty International said today.
"Ai Weiwei was not even involved in any call for 'Jasmine' protests. There seems to be no reason whatsoever for his detention, other than that the authorities are trying to broadcast the message that China’s time for open dissent has come to an end," said Donna Guest, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Asia-Pacific.
"We've already seen the chilling effect the 'Jasmine Revolution'-related arrests have had on Chinese activists and netizens over the past month. Holding Ai Weiwei takes this to another level," said Guest. "If the authorities are so bold as to grab this world-renowned artist in broad daylight at Beijing airport, it’s frightening to think how they might treat other, lesser known dissidents."
Police detained Ai Weiwei at Beijing airport on April 2. His wife and several members of his studio staff were also detained on the weekend.
Since online calls for Chinese 'Jasmine Revolution' protests inspired by people’s movements in the Middle East and North Africa began circulating in late February, the Chinese authorities have rounded up dozens of activists, lawyers and bloggers.
This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.
Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Won't Exist.
We are people from across the world standing up for humanity and human rights. Our purpose is to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. We investigate and expose abuses, educate and mobilize the public, and help transform societies to create a safer, more just world.