PROTEST RALLY SOCIAL ACTIVISM HONG KONG
Many protest rallies are occurring around the world this weekend, of of which are calling for the release of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, taken into custody by Chinese police last week. A Hong Kong activist group is holding a rally in the city tomorrow (Sunday 4 April, 2011), which members of the art community are said to be attending.
What: Rally calling for Ai Weiwei’s release
When: Sunday (10/4/2011), from 11am
Where: Beginning outside Western Police Station in Sai Ying Pun and then moving to the nearby China Liaison Office
Who: Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China
An open letter to The Guardian, published yesterday (Friday 8 April, 2011) and supported by 500+ leading UK and international art figures including Katie Hill, Adrian Searle, Cao Fei, and Greg Hilty urged governments to:
“Exert strong pressure on China to treat its citizens with respect as a matter of basic justice and humanity. At this stage of China’s development as a country taking an increasing part in world affairs, it is crucial that we make it clear that China’s credibility in the world is at stake if it does not significantly improve its human rights record.”
Ai Weiwei was taken into custody by Chinese police on Sunday 3 April, 2011, at a Beijing airport as he was boarding a flight to Hong Kong. Since this time, Ai’s wife was reported to say that she fears for his safety and his mother attempted to file a missing persons report with Chinese police with little success, choosing instead to publish it publicly on the Internet in protest.
Despite Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei stating “‘China is a country ruled by law,’ and ‘other countries have no right to interfere‘”, governments around the world are urging China to release the artist, saying that with the arrest the Chinese government is in violation of universal human rights laws.
Other countries are boycotting cultural events, including Germany, who has asked for recent loans to the National Museum of China to be returned. In China, “online commentators … have taken up the slogan ‘Love the Future’ (爱未来) which both resembles and sounds similar to Ai’s name (艾未未),” reports ARTINFO.
Ai Weiwei’s arrest is the latest in a string of incidents concerning the artist including the cancellation of his Ullens Center retrospective and the demolition of his Shanghai studio, occurring while the artist was under house arrest in Beijing.
- Ai Weiwei on why Ullens are quitting Beijing centre – TimeOut interview – March 2011 – Ai speculates on exhibition cancellation and the organisation’s impending management changes
- Ai Weiwei’s Shanghai studio demolition: top stories, photos, video – January 2011 – we collect and link to the top news, photos and videos
- Internet best gift to China says artist and social activist Ai Weiwei – November 2011 – Ai claims, “the Internet will bring [the Chinese government] to an end”
- Ai Weiwei’s studio party cancelled? Art Radar was there – November 2010 – on-the-ground report of the event that was a direct challenge to the Chinese authorities by artist Ai
- Ai Weiwei fills Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall with 100 million ceramic sunflower seeds – October 2010 – guest poster Pippa Dennis provides an in-depth look into production and exhibition