Det kinesiske politi bortførte Ai Weiwei søndag morgen. Det er usikkert, hvad der er sket med ham, og hvor han befinder sig. Politiet vil stadig ikke bekræfte, at han er anholdt.
Den 53-årige Ai er ikke alene Kinas vel nok mest kendte kunstner, han er også berømt i Kina og en skarp kritiker af den kinesiske regering, partiet og landets myndigheder. Hans forsvinden er en markant optrapning af den kampagne mod kritikerne, som myndighederne begyndte i februar. Du kan læse tidligere artikler om sagen og Ai Weiwei her på Kinablog.
Og her er en opsamling om sagen fra andre medier.
Den canadiske Globe and Mail opfordrer i en leder til at befri Ai Weiwei:
But he is an inconvenient patriot, the kind who demands better of his country. And so Mr. Ai denounced the stadium before the Games even began, rightly anticipating that the regime would suppress dissent in spite of the Games. His art celebrates, but it also laments, most notably in a memorial mural, made of thousands of children’s backpacks, to those killed in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake – victims on whose behalf he continues to campaign.
Beijings kampagne mod kritikerne kan blive lang, advarer Christian Science Monitor, der opfordrer resten af verden til at hjælpe Ai Weiwei og kampen for universelle rettigheder. Avisen skriver også om, hvordan Ai brugte sin kunst til politisk kritik:
The best example of his ability to blend art and politics was when he campaigned against the official reaction to the Sichuan earthquake in 2008 – which was to suppress news about the deaths and the shoddy building codes. He led the effort to gather the names of school children who died in the quake. He then created a giant art work in Munich made up of children’s colorful backpacks. The worked spelled out the words of one mother whose child was killed: “She lived happily for seven years in this world.”
Den amerikanske regering bør gå markant ind i sagen, og den kinesiske regerings opførsel bør få konsekvenser, skriver Wall Street Journal i en leder:
Perhaps the Obama Administration should listen to Mr. Ai, whose op-ed for us included this statement: “Most discouraging to those of us who are fighting for increased freedom is the tendency for developed nations to lower the bar to please China. They make excuses not to concern themselves with violations of human rights. To espouse universal values and then blind oneself to China’s active hostility to those values is irresponsible and naive.”
The State Department says its top Asia official, Kurt Campbell, is set to visit Beijing Thursday to “prepare for the upcoming Strategic and Economic Dialogue.” Maybe that trip should be postponed until Beijing tells the world in which dungeon it has dumped Ai Weiwei.
USA vil dog næppe for alvor gå ind i sagen, for Obama er alvorligt bange for at konfrontere Kina over landets menneskerettigheder. For det handler også om storpolitik, skriver The Diplomat:
Interestingly in light of our feature today looking at the reasons why China decided to abstain rather than exercise its UN veto over US-backed military action in Libya, some have detected a lack of enthusiasm on the part of the United States to follow up on China’s crackdown. According to Rep. Randy Forbes, co-chairman of the Congressional China Caucus, the Obamaadministration is ‘scared to death to speak out on very sensitive issues’that might offend China and turn them against US policy on Libya, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.
Ai Weiwei er en kunstner, der også er personificeringen af Kinas samvittighed. Og den rolle går langt tilbage i den kinesiske historie, skriver New York Times i dette portræt:
As China’s official news channels broadcast upbeat videos of earthquake rescue operations, Mr. Ai was in Sichuan making his own films of the destruction, talking with distraught parents of dead or missing children and using his widely read daily blog to accuse the Sichuan officials of financial corruption that resulted in structurally faulty schools. His accusations of a cover-up extended to the highest levels in Beijing.
To anyone familiar with China’s hardball official politics, Mr. Ai’s aggressive words sounded suicidally aggressive and the silence from the government in Beijing was perplexing. But at this juncture, both parties were almost ceremonially enacting ancient roles. In Chinese culture, going back to Confucius, there has been a tradition of individual scholars and intellectuals denouncing rulers for wrongdoing that was bringing disharmony to society, and particularly if that wrongdoing was injurious to innocence.
USA, EU, Tyskland, Frankrig, Australien og Storbrittannien har udtrykt bekymring for Ai Weiwei. Det samme gør nu folk i kunstverdenen, skriver Guardian:
The Tate director, Sir Nicholas Serota, said the whereabouts of the artist remained unknown. “We are dismayed by developments that again threaten Ai’s right to speak freely as an artist and hope that he will be released immediately,” he said.
Gregor Muir, director of the ICA which last week auctioned an Ai work for £50,000, said: “The ICA is deeply troubled to learn of recent events concerning Ai Weiwei. Our thoughts are with his family, studio staff and friends. Only last week, Ai donated a brilliant artwork to our fundraising auction and we are indebted to his generosity. To then hear news that Ai had been detained by his own government is deeply shocking.”
Det ser sort ud for Ai Weiwei. Professor Jerome Cohen, der er en af de mest fremtrædende eksperter på kinesisk lovgivning, skriver på USAsia Law Institute, at han tror, politiet er ved opbygge en sag mod Ai. De andre gange, hvor han har været tilbageholdt, har det været mere spontant. Denne gang var det en velkoordineret og stor aktion:
It’s possible because of Weiwei’s family and personal connections and outside pressures that he may be released soon. What is worrisome is that his detention was not a spontaneous response to Weiwei’s well-known in-your-face lecturing of police for their abuses but a carefully thought out plan to at least keep him in the country and perhaps keep him in criminal detention, not mere house arrest. They may have chosen an intermediate course of taking him, initially, not to a regular detention house but to a “safe house”, where he is just as effectively isolated but kept in better conditions than an ordinary cell.
The formal search and seizure of his home/studio suggests that the police may have in mind a conventional criminal prosecution rather than the informal detention and quick release after some hours or days of intimidation in their custody that they frequently practice in their early days of deterring dissidents. Yet no detention notice has been received by his family and none may be since, again, there is an exception in the CPL that releases police from giving required notice of detention if to do so might interfere with their investigation. Without a detention notice, we do not know what the suspected charge might be, where he is located and who is holding him. We believe, from the search and search warrant, that the National Security Division of the Beijing Public Security Bureau (the regular police) is the authority in charge rather than the Beijing State Security Bureau (the KGB of China, responsible for international-related matters).
Global Voices er gået på Twitter og har fundet og oversat reaktioner, der er skrevet af fremtrædende kinesiske bloggere, journalister, akademikere og advokater:
Mo Zhixu, prominent writer and critic (@mozhixu):
3:11 PM Apr 4th
I remember talking with Ai Weiwei during New Year’s Eve. I said that the authority will find it difficult to deal with people like Ai Weiwei and Ran Yunfei, who act individually and are not affiliated with any party. They are safe. Now, events in North Africa have changed everything. Someone has to act sooner, so as to prevent the emergence of another Liu Xiaobo. However, can you say everything is alright just by eliminating the likes of Liu Xiaobo?