Oy Vey: East and West Split along the Ai Weiwei Line

Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei, remains under arrest more than two months after being detained on his way to Hong Kong last April. He is accused of economic crimes, specifically of tax evasion. However, the charges are unconvincing in light of Weiwei’s criticism of the government and defiance of the mainland authorities. Artists and critics around the world have demonstrated their solidarity with Weiwei. Some of those working in China have been detained also.  For example, Lin Bing and Fei Xiaosheng, who reserved a blank gallery wall with a small name tag in support of Weiwei were detained by police and their exhibit was shut down.

In the mean time, the Britain’s Royal Academy awarded Weiwei the title of Honorary Academician as “one of the most significant cultural figures of his generation in China and internationally.”

In anticipation of the next step by the Chinese government it is disconcerting to see the efforts of using tax law to prosecute dissident artists.

For full stories related to Ai Weiwei read Beijing Artists Detained and UK’s Royal Academy of Arts Awards Ai Weiwei Honorary Title.

Photos: Top — REUTERS/Tyrone Siu; bottom — AP Photo/Keystone/Steffen Schmidt.

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