Ai Weiwei is the most famous artist in China, best known for his iconic “Bird’s Nest” stadium that was the focal point of the Beijing Olympics.
Ai has always pushed the envelope, both with his internationally-acclaimed art and with his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government.
But these past weeks have brought Beijing’s harshest crackdown on dissidents in more than a decade. And on April 3rd, government agents arrested Ai at the Beijing airport and seized papers and computers from his studio.
We don’t know where Ai is now. The Chinese government is holding him on flimsy charges of “economic crimes” — an allegation often used to silence dissenters.
Twelve leading figures in the international arts world, including the directors of the Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, and Tate Museum, have started a petition on Change.org demanding that the Chinese government free Ai Weiwei.
The regime in Beijing has proven largely resistant to pressure from foreign governments. But they’ve made a huge push to raise China’s profile in the arts — the government just finished building the world’s largest art museum. Widespread condemnation, led by the arts community, may be our best chance to save his life.
Please sign the petition to free Ai Weiwei as soon as possible: