Artist Ai Weiwei Brings Attention to China’s Infringement on Personal Liberties

Posted on June 22, 2012

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Ai Weiwei, China’s most famous dissident artist, has written a personal, poignant article for the Guardian UK, in which he explains:

A year ago tomorrow, I was released from more than two months of secret detention. Police told me today that they have lifted my bail conditions. I am happy that the year is up, but also feel sorry about it. I have no sense of why I lost my freedom and if you don’t know how you lost something, how can you protect it?…

The 81 days of detention were a nightmare. I am not unique: this has happened to many people, and is still happening. It’s an experience no one should share. They were extreme conditions, created by a system that thinks it is above the law, and has become a kind of monstrous machine. Everybody who has been through it loses their original hope or has it changed somehow….

I often ask myself if I am afraid of being detained again. My inner voice says I am not. I love freedom, like anybody; maybe more than most people. But it is such a tragedy if you live your life in fear. That’s worse than actually losing your freedom.

Weiwei reports that he was harassed by police and instructed to stay away from a planned court appearance. He explained to CNN:

“I’ve never seen so many police cars outside my studio — at one point last night a few dozen were there, which was unprecedented,” Ai told CNN by phone.

“Yesterday my assistant wanted to take pictures of the police outside our studio, but his camera was immediately grabbed and he got injured in the process,” he said.

“The police started calling me repeatedly yesterday afternoon, warning me to stay away from the court today, which I find pretty confusing” because he is facing tax charges, he said.

Ai says the allegations that he owes back taxes are a cover for accusations that he is trying to overthrow the state.

Sources: Ai Weiwei: to live your life in fear is worse than losing your freedom and China dissident Ai Weiwei harassed by police, he says.

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