Ai Weiwei’s Lawyer Released, Hackers Attack Petition Site, and Berlin Says Artist’s Job Is Still Available

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While Ai Weiwei still hasn’t been heard from, now weeks after his sudden disappearance at the hands of Chinese officials, one person connected to the artist has now reportedly been released: his lawyer (you’ll recall that we reported on his disappearance at the start of this week). The Guardian writes that human rights lawyer, Liu Xiaoyuan, who has worked with Weiwei on projects like boycotting the Chinese government’s internet censoring software (the two can be seen together in this 2009 report by NTD), tweeted that he had returned to Beijing, was fine, but “did not want to give any more details of what had happened.” Judging from that, it appears that the government has put enough of a scare into Xiaoyuan so as to, at the moment, no longer move forward on acting as Weiwei’s legal council. Meanwhile, the story continues, with the Berlin University of the Arts saying that the visiting professor position they’d created for him before he was detained (and what the artist had announced several days prior), will remain open and ready to receive him, should he be released and allowed to leave China. Elsewhere, hackers attacked Change.org this week, the site “hosting a petition calling on the Chinese government to release Ai Weiwei.” The site believes the government is behind the attack and “the FBI has begun investigating the case.” Chinese officials have denied that the government was in any way involved.