Ai Weiwei Reportedly Held by Police at Beijing Airport
Just after announcing that he planned a partial move to Berlin to avoid ongoing harassment in Beijing, artist and activist Ai Weiwei appears to have been detained at the Beijing airport by customs police while trying to fly to Hong Kong, according to reports filed on Twitter by his assistant and others. A tweet sent from his account announced that at about 7 am Beijing time he and one of his assistants were taken away by customs police at Beijing Capital Airport. Both of their cell phones were subsequently turned off and as of 11 am no one could reach them. Ai’s studio outside Beijing was guarded by police, the electricity was turned off, and no one was allowed entry or exit. His wife, Lu Qing, was reportedly being questioned by police, and eight of his assistants were taken also away for questioning, while police went through his computer.
Foreign journalists, including Jonathan Watts of the Guardian, who tried to visit the studio found a heavy police presence.