More Detained by Government in Ai Weiwei Case, Worldwide Protests Target Chinese Embassies

The battle for the release of detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has continued to grow, following his arrest as he attempted to leave Beijing at the start of this month. On Friday evening, it was discovered that Chinese authorities have also detained Weiwei’s lawyer and a designer who worked with the artist, neither of whom have been heard from for the past six days. These disappearances add two more people to a list of those who have vanished that includes not only the artist but his accountant, his cousin, and a close friend. Meanwhile, the NY Times reports that some outlines of the government’s case against Weiwei have been released, saying his detention stems from an investigation into “tax evasion, destroying evidence and distributing pornography,” all of which his wife disputes, but at the very least is something a little more tangible than the previously released ominous, mysterious and very brief statement. In the interim, other nations, fellow artists and museum directors have called for his release, the Guggenheim has created an online petition seeking the same, and yesterday afternoon, demonstrators flooded Chinese embassies in cities across the world, recreating the artist’s 2007 installation, Fairytale: 1001 Qing Dynasty Wooden Chairs. Called 1001 Chairs for Ai Weiwei, thousands of people, helped along by this Facebook group, brought out their own chairs to sit in front of the embassies in a show of support for the artist.