Lifestyle & Belief

Is Ai Weiwei back?


Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.


Georges Gobet

In the immediate aftermath of Ai Weiwei's release, there was talk that the Chinese authorities had won.

By releasing him, they had placated the dissident's supporters; by restricting his speech, they had silenced him.

China had taken the wind out of Ai's sails, so to speak, and by extension the opposition.

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Or have they?

The Guardian reported this morning that Ai Weiwei is back to his old ways, tweeting out against the regime and in support of his friends who have been mistreated.

In his first overtly political remarks since his release in June, after more than two months in detention, Ai tweeted:

If you don't speak for Wang Lihong, and don't speak for Ran Yunfei, you are not just a person who will not stand out for fairness and justice; you do not have self-respect.

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Wang is expected to face trial within weeks for "creating a disturbance" after demonstrating in support of bloggers accused of slander, and Ran, is a high profile blogger detained in March and charged with "inciting subversion of state power."

Ai confirmed for the Guardian that he had written the tweets. He told reporters that he had recently met with Liu Zhenggan, a designer who was also detained, adding:

It was the first time after my release that I had met my colleague. I was so shocked when I saw him ... He [had] a heart attack and his body was still not moving well. They treated him terribly and he almost died during his inhumane detention. So many people were related to my case and were inhumanely treated for so long ... How could society and the system do this kind of thing and use the name of justice?

You can mess wirth Ai Weiwei, but don't mess with his friends.

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