Social media used to plan global protest for Chinese artist Ai Weiwei
Saturday 16 April 2011
International supporters of jailed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei are using the very media that helped land the artist in trouble with mainland authorities as they plan to re-enact one of his installations in a series of global protests calling for his release this weekend.
Ai has been under detention in Beijing since being arrested before trying to board a flight to Hong Kong on April 3, with the Chinese government saying the artist was being investigated for "economic crimes."
The 53-year-old Ai - known for his massive installation pieces that have featured at the likes of London's Tate Modern gallery - has in recent years been a vocal critic of the Chinese government and has often used social media platforms to voice his concerns.
Responding to his plight, a international collection of artists is now staging an event titled "1001 Chairs for Ai Weiwei" which via Facebook calls for people to re-enact his installation piece "1001 Qing Dynasty Wooden Chairs," which featured as part of the Documenta 12 exhibition in Kassel, Germany in 2007.
The plan is for protesters to gather with chairs and stage a sit-in outside their local Chinese embassy or consulate at 1pm, local time, on Sunday.
"Artist and activist Ai Weiwei is an internationally regarded figure who has fought for artistic freedom and for freedom of speech throughout his distinguished career, envisioning and shaping a more just and equitable society through his work," organizers of the Hong Kong protest said in a statement.
The Chinese government has in recent weeks rounded up a collection of activists following online calls for country-wide protests, what organizers had hoped would follow similar online-inspired movements in the Middle East and Africa.
China has kept a vigilant eye on use of the internet which now has an estimated 457 million users, nationwide.
Social portals such as Facebook and Twitter are banned on the mainland but a number of Chinese versions have appeared - such as Weibo - albeit with strict controls on content and topics open for discussion.
Life & Style blogs
Penis size study: what's 'normal' anyway?
Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
Penis size: is there a correlation with sexual satisfaction? A scientific look
Majority of UK women don't bathe or take a shower daily
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 3 Bali nine: Welcome to 'Execution Island' – the Indonesian holiday resort where foreigners are sent to die
- 4 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
- 5 Why you're almost certainly more like your father than your mother
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...
£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Software Application Developer (C# & ASP.Net, SQL S...
£27000 - £33000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End Devel...