Ai Weiwei: criminal or political advisor?


Chinese artist Ai Weiwei sits in the courtyard of his home in Beijing on November 7, 2010.


Peter Parks

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post is reporting that detained artist Ai Weiwei was offered a role in a Communist Party of China’s top advisory body days before he was taken into custody, his staff says.

The newspaper wrote on Wednesday that staff in Ai’s studio said police visited the artist just three days before his detention and offered him a role in the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a group of influential people who advise the government. The paper said his staff said Ai was offered the post once earlier, but the artist didn’t elaborate on his response. Ai, who the government says is under investigation for “economic crimes” is a vocal critic of the Chinese government and has distanced himself from his most visible project associated with them – the National Stadium he helped design for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.