Ai Weiwei Publishes Negative Essay About Beijing, Chinese Censors Respond by Tearing Out Pages From Every Copy of Newsweek

If you’d been wondering, as we have been, what misfortunes would befall artist Ai Weiwei again after he began ignoring a total media ban imposed upon him by the Chinese government after releasing him from a three month detainment, we may soon find out. Following his forays back onto the internet and granting interviews to the media, the last of which, with the LA Times, he admitted that he’d been getting into trouble for talking too much, he’s perhaps reached something of a breaking point with his latest move. Appearing just before the holiday weekend here in the US, Weiwei penned an essay about Beijing for Newsweek, which also appeared online on the affiliated Daily Beast website, wherein the only two positive things he says about the city, before calling it “a constant nightmare,” are a) “people still give birth to babies” and b) “there are a few nice parks.” The rest is positively damning, calling out the government for establishing a culture of fear among its inhabitants, crafting an unfair and harsh judicial and policing system, and he even addresses his own arrest (which was apparently point number one in the gag order he was placed under). In response, the Independent reports that Chinese authorities have ordered that the page Weiwei’s essay appears on in this week’s Newsweek be torn out and destroy from each and every copy. Thus far, the artist apparently has not been reached for comment, and we wouldn’t be surprised if that keeps up for a while.

Publish date: September 7, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT