News / Asia

    China Investigates Detained Artist for Economic Crimes

    Human rights protesters hold a rally, carrying the picture of Ai Weiwei, one of its most famous contemporary Chinese artists outside the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong, April 5, 2011
    Human rights protesters hold a rally, carrying the picture of Ai Weiwei, one of its most famous contemporary Chinese artists outside the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong, April 5, 2011
    Stephanie Ho

    Chinese authorities are investigating detained activist-artist Ai Weiwei for economic crimes.  The government's admission comes as diplomats and activists step up their criticism of the Chinese government's widespread and growing crackdown on dissent.

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said artist-activist Ai Weiwei is being investigated, under law.

    Hong says Ai is being held on suspicion of economic crimes, but offered no further explanation.

    Liu Xiaoyuan is a lawyer close to Ai's family.  He says, despite the official public statements about the artist, the family has received no official information.

    Liu says family members went to the Beijing Public Security bureau with a written request for a legal notification as to Ai Weiwei's status.  They wanted to know why he was taken away, whether he was forcibly detained and what crimes he has committed.

    Liu says they got no answer because they could not find the correct person in charge.

    Ai has been completely out of contact with his family since being detained Sunday.

    He is an internationally famous artist, who is best known for helping design the highlight of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Bird's Nest stadium.

    That same year, Ai also began speaking out for the thousands of child victims of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, who he says died because of shoddy school construction.

    His case has been taken up by the international community, including U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, who said American envoys will continue to champion human rights as what he describes as a "bedrock" of the American world view.

    "[U.S. envoys] will continue to speak up in defense of social activists like Liu Xiaobo, Chen Guangcheng and now Ai Weiwei, who challenge the Chinese government to serve the public in all cases and at all times," said Huntsman.

    He made his comments Wednesday, during a speech in Shanghai.

    Meanwhile, other Chinese activists are also speaking out against the latest crackdown on dissent, which began after online calls on the Internet urged people to hold protests similar to the Jasmine Revolutions demonstrations that brought down governments in the Middle East.

    Zhao Lianhai, who spent time in jail last year for protesting a massive tainted milk scandal, released an emotional video on YouTube.

    Zhao says that Chinese authorities have rounded up many people lately.   He says that, although some of these people may have had sharp criticism of the government, they have good intentions.  He adds that, if the government locks up everyone who has good intentions, then ordinary people will have nowhere to look for hope.

    Zhao says the recent crackdown has left him "agonized."  He says he was dismayed to hear that authorities were even able to get Ai Weiwei, whom he referred to familiarly as "Old Ai."

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora