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We last posted on Ai Weiwei on June 30 with news of his associate’s heart attack. Since his release, news of the artist has significantly slowed. But he’s not out of the woods yet. Ai faces charges of mass tax evasion, and the normally vocal artist has remained disturbingly quiet. July has been a slow news month for Ai, but major events, such as hearings on his “crimes” and a new exhibition in Austria, have been taking place over the past few weeks.
Here’s an update on what’s been going on since our last post:
All of this news is both sad and hopeful. No, Ai Weiwei is not truly free. No one knows what kind of threats are keeping him quiet, and the kind of intimidation the Chinese government must be using to keep he and his family terrified of speaking out.
The Ai Weiwei arrest came at a time when the Chinese government is causing more “disappearances” and arresting more citizens than they have in decades. The Chinese government is attempting to keep their citizens from expressing themselves, and the imprisonment of Ai Weiwei was a perfect symbol of intimidation. And yet, for all their efforts to keep the people of China quiet, shows are still opening of Ai’s work, we now know what he went through in prison, and he may end up teaching hundreds of students in a foreign country.
There is hope. If the people of China are able to speak, people will listen.
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