Ai Weiwei’s wife permitted to visit jailed artist.
by Google News:
The burly, bearded 53-year-old appeared conflicted and his eyes were puffy when his wife Lu Qing was allowed to visit him Sunday, though he seemed healthy, Lu told The Associated Press.
“He has changed. His mood and demeanor are so different from the simple and spontaneous Ai Weiwei I know,” Lu said Monday. “It was obvious that without freedom to express himself he was not behaving naturally even with me.”
Lu said that during the brief meeting Ai was not handcuffed and was wearing his own clothes instead of a detention center uniform. His trademark beard had not been shaven. Still, he “seemed conflicted, contained, his face was tense.”
Lu said the people who arranged the visit, who showed her no identification, made it clear that the scope of her questions had to be kept very narrow.
“We could not talk about the economic charges or other stuff, mainly about the family and health,” she said. “We were careful, we knew that the deal could be broken at any moment, so we were careful.”
Liu Xiaoyuan, a lawyer and friend of Ai’s who met with Lu on Monday to discuss the visit, said it sounded like Ai was being held under residential surveillance somewhere outside Beijing.
Chinese law allows police to impose residential surveillance for up to six months before requiring them to make a decision about how to proceed with a case, as opposed to the 30 days allowed for criminal detention, said Joshua Rosenzweig, a Hong Kong-based research manager for the U.S. human rights group Dui Hua Foundation.
Ai’s influence has ranged far beyond that of the usual contemporary artist. His outrage at the deaths of so many students in the Sichuan earthquake in 2008 turned him into a social activist and tapped into anger among many Chinese at official corruption and indifference. He took to Twitter, prolifically tweeting not only his social criticism but his everyday doings, attracting more than 70,000 followers, even though Twitter is blocked by China’s Internet filtering.
Since his disappearance, art museums such as the Tate in London, collectors and artists have rallied behind him. At the launch of an exhibition of Ai’s sculpture earlier this month, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said fearlessness in the face of official intimidation spoke to “the indomitable desire for freedom that is inside every human being.”
It is rumored that Ai Weiwei was tortured and raped. The jailed dissident has been held since April and it is the first time anyone has heard from Ai Weiwei.
However, Hong Kong artists have taken to the streets to remind their citizens of Ai Weiwei’s disappearance.
Free Ai Weiwei/Love the Future.