Artist and Bird’s Nest Designer Ai Weiwei Beaten and Detained

Two pieces of news coming from China this week, split between two posts so things don’t get too long. First, artist Ai Weiwei, who you might recall from last year’s Olympics in Beijing after he disassociated himself from the now-iconic Bird’s Nest National Stadium he helped design, has popped up again as a voice the Chinese government isn’t eager to hear. Following his outcry this past March over his country’s handling of their devastating earthquake in May of 2008, the government has reportedly detained and beaten Weiwei as he attempted to attend the trial of Tan Zuoren, an activist who had been investigating why the aforementioned earthquake had been so deadly, particularly in regard to poor construction throughout the Sichuan area. Weiwei has said that he was ejected from the courtroom and sequestered in a hotel where he was guarded by more than 20 security forces, he was “roughed up” and his life was threatened. Although he has since been released, several of the people he was with at the trial have gone missing, with the police refusing to release where they are being held.