Ai Weiwei in Tiananmen Square in 2009 (the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre)
On January 11, 2011 the studios of Ai Weiwei were demolished by the Chinese government. He was arrested April 3, 2011 and has not been heard from since.
Here is an excerpt from a recent article in the Global Post:
Ai’s is just the latest in a long string of arrests, detentions and disappearances of critics of China’s regime this spring. Security forces moved amid ongoing calls for a Jasmine Revolution in China, apparently unnerved in part by the tumult and uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. The group Chinese Human Rights Defenders has published a map of disappearances and detentions in recent weeks, which offers a stark view of the situation.
Ai, the outspoken artist and an avid user of social media, was documenting via Twitter the ongoing crackdown on Chinese voices. And while he’s far from the first to be silenced, he has the highest international profile. Ai has been the subject of stories in countless magazines and newspapers and appeared on widely watched international television programs.
Ai Weiwei’s Recent TED Film
Ai Weiwei, Study in Perspective (Tiananmen), 1995.
In response to his disappearance some artists have started a project called “Weiwei Works Here” to stand in solidarity with his calls for social change and democracy. Information can be found on the site weiweiworkshere.org.