Rule of Law

China makes a mockery of the rule of law

(June 30, 2011) The Chinese Government may have released artist Ai Weiwei from his nearly three months in detention, but the terms of his bail gag him.

Quote of the week: “In legal terms, I’m – how do you say? – on bail. So I cannot give any interviews” Ai Weiwei

The Chinese government’s crackdown on dissent escalated on Sunday, April 3rd, 2011, with the detention of artist and architect Ai Weiwei.  Ai, the man who helped design the Olympic Bird’s Nest stadium, has been on the government’s radar ever since the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, when he criticized corrupt government officials for building shoddy schools, which collapsed and killed thousands of students.  Ai assembled a group of activists to compile a list of the school children killed, because the government wasn’t doing so.

Appalled by his extralegal detention, foreign governments and international rights groups called for Ai’s release, saying the authorities were punishing him for his activism.

On June 22, almost three months after he was “disappeared,” Ai was released on “bail” after allegedly confessing to his crimes of tax evasion, according to Chinese authorities. The terms of Ai’s bail seem to have silenced the once prolific and articulate critic who had some 88,000 Twitter followers.

Within days of his release, authorities arrived to serve him with papers itemizing the $733,333 that they claim he owes in back taxes and the $1 million in fines he must pay. His wife Lu Qing, who is legally responsible for Mr. Ai’s art company, Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd., says the accusations of tax evasion are without warrant. His lawyer Pu Zhiqiang says the documents accusing Ai of tax evasion lack specific details and evidence, such as the year(s) the tax infringement took place. Ai’s lawyer also says his client cannot check the allegations because authorities confiscated his accounting records during Ai’s detention, and have not returned them. Pu has appealed the tax ruling to the Beijing Local Taxation Bureau.

Ai Weiwei, it seems, has not been completely silenced.

We will chronicle this battle of wits between China’s most famous artist and the country’s security officials in the struggle for the rule of law.

To read more on Ai Weiwei’s detention, release, and now his tax appeal, follow the news right here.

Chinese activists protest secret arrest law

Ai Weiwei ‘speaks out’ – in writing

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei appeals tax bill

China Releases Artist Ai Weiwei

Australian art community plan march

Detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei remembered with new Tate Modern display

Ai Weiwei: Artist, architect and outspoken social critic

China and Ai Weiwei: Britain’s art establishment is about to walk into a minefield

US presses China over activist site attacks

Anish Kapoor Cancels China Plans to Protest Ai Weiwei Detention

Day 70: What can they do to me?

Free Ai Weiwei graffiti in Amsterdam

Hong Kong “Love the Future” Exhibit Supports Ai Weiwei, June 9, 2011, NTD Television

Harper No Help to Chinese Voices of Freedom, June 9, 2011, The Tyee

Pelosi calls for immediate release of Ai Weiwei, June 3, 2011, The Hill

Taipei awaits Ai Weiwei with 1001 chairs, June 4, 2011, Focus Taiwan

Told to Keep Low Profile, Chinese Artist Takes a Stand, June 3, 2011, New York Times

Zodiac sculptures display jailed Chinese artist’s vision

Ai Weiwei made fellow of U.K. art academy, June 2, 2011, CBC News

Royal Academy honours Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, June 2, 2011, Guardian

Beijing artists detained after homage to Ai Weiwei, June 2, 2011, Reuters

Committee to Protect Journalists, May 13, 2011, Media memorializing Sichuan earthquake censored

Reuters, May 12, 2011, Detained artist a further blow for China quake parents

Guardian, May 1, 2011, Fears in China as another human rights lawyer disappears

Reuters, April 29, 2011, Pro-Ai graffiti in Hong Kong sparks warning by Chinese army

The China Beat, April 27, 2011, A View on Ai Weiwei’s Exit

Globe and Mail, April 26, 2011, Rounding up the usual suspects

AFP, April 23, 2011, Over 1000 march in Hong Kong for Ai’s freedom

Chinese Human Rights Defenders, April 19, 2011, Individuals affected by the crackdown following call for “Jasmine Revolution”

Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2011, New film to offer close up view of Ai Weiwei

Los Angeles Times, April 18, 2011, Demonstrators in L.A. show support for Ai Weiwei

Probe International, April 15, 2011, Memo to Chinese government: no one believes you

The Globe and Mail, April 15, 2011, Uprooting the Chinese ‘jasmine revolution’

The Economist, April 14, 2011, China’s new rulers: Princelings and the goon state

The Economist, April 14, 2011, China’s crackdown

New York Times, April 14, 2011, Arts group calls for worldwide sit-in for Ai Weiwei
Toronto Star, April 14, 2011, 1001 chairs for Ai Weiwei, Toronto version

Dissent Magazine, April 13, 2011, The purge of Ai Weiwei

The Georgian Times, April 13, 2011, The Sunflower Revolutionary

The Guardian, April 13, 2011, Ai Weiwei ‘was offered advisory role before his detention’

The Economist, April 12, 2011, Ai Weiwei’s blog: A digital rallying cry

Voice of America, April 12, 2011, China baffled by support for imprisoned activist Ai Weiwei

Huffington Post, April 12, 2011, Meet Wen Tao, missing along with Ai Weiwei

Christian Science Monitor, April 12, 2011, Five famous jailed dissidents in China

Time Magazine, April 12, 2011, As art world rallies, Chinese officials summon Ai Weiwei’s wife

The Associated Press, April 12, 2011, EU official urges China to halt arbitrary arrests

The Calgary Herald, April 12, 2011, China detains artist’s driver

Newsweek, April 10, 2011, A provocateur finds out just how far he can go

The Herald Scotland, April 10, 2011, Dissent and disappearance

The Guardian, April 6, 2011, China media condemn ‘unruly’ Ai Weiwei

Voice of America, April 8, 2011, Extralegal detention of Ai Weiwei

The Guardian, April 3, 2011, Chinese police detain artist Ai Weiwei

Spero News, April 2, 2011, China: More than 200 arrests to quell the “Jasmine Revolution” in China

Who’s on notice: Ai Weiwei or the Chinese government?

Below is a Ted Talks video recently recorded by Ai Weiwei, and CNN interview with Ai from last year.



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