At the end of last month, you might recall that artist Ai Weiwei continued to break the ban on his talking to the media imposed upon him by the Chinese government, which had only just released him from a secretive three-month detention. At that time, and after several instances of his breaking away from his governments demands, it seems like Weiwei was getting into “final straw” territory, writing an essay for Newsweek that was highly critical of life in Beijing (the authorities, in response, tore out the page from every possible copy of the magazine they were able to find). Following that, the artist has gone largely silent. However, this week his wife, Lu Qing, made a somewhat public appearance, sending a letter to the National People’s Congress, as well as posting that letter on her husband’s recently-opened Google+ account, requesting that China’s leaders “reject draft legislation that would cement in law police powers to hold dissidents in secret locations without telling their families.” Given her familiarity with that type of situation, her push to stop the legislation is certainly understandable. In addition to hearing from Qing, Reuters report on the letter issued a quick peek at the ramifications the artist has suffered from the aforementioned wanderings away from the demands placed on him:
Asked whether he had come under more pressure from the authorities, Ai said: “I cannot do any interviews anymore, I’m very sorry, but my situation isn’t very good,” adding that he was “strictly” not allowed to use the Internet.
So has the Chinese government finally gotten to Weiwei, or is this just another brief break before he starts up again with his criticisms? We’ll have to wait and see.