China's Ai Weiwei Speaks Out Over Activists' Detentions on Twitter
He has been prohibited from giving interviews since his release, but Ai Weiwei took to Twitter recently to describe what conditions were like for his colleagues, who were jailed with him. From the Telegraph:
Mr Ai, who was banned from giving interviews when he was freed in June after 80 days in detention, said colleagues who were incarcerated “because of me” had suffered “great mental abuse and physical torture”.
He revealed that Liu Zhenggang, a designer at his studio, had come close to death after suffering a heart attack during the time he spent in detention.
“Today I saw Liu Zhenggang, it was the first time he had spoken about this imprisonment,” Mr Ai wrote in a tweet on Tuesday. “He raised his right hand and said, ‘Sir, I want to drink water’. Then this strong man burst into tears … He had a heart attack when was in prison and almost died.”
Ai Weiwei, the artist held for more than two months by Chinese authorities, has lashed out at the “torment” of friends entangled in his case and pressed the cases of detained activists.
“If you don’t speak for Wang Lihong, and don’t speak for Ran Yunfei, you are not just a person who will not stand out for fairness and justice; you do not have self-respect,” he tweeted today.
Wang is expected to face trial within weeks for “creating a disturbance” after demonstrating in support of bloggers accused of slander after writing about a suspicious death. Ran, a high profile blogger, was detained in March and later formally charged with “inciting subversion of state power”.
He added: “Because of the connection with me, they were illegally detained. Liu Zhenggang, Hu Mingfen, Wen Tao and Zhang Jinsong innocently suffered immense mental devastation and physical torment.”
Ai said he was not able to give interviews. But he confirmed to the Guardian that he had written the tweets, adding: “It was the first time after my release that I had met my colleague. I was so shocked when I saw him … He [had] a heart attack and his body was still not moving well. They treated him terribly and he almost died during his inhumane detention.”
“So many people were related to my case and were inhumanely treated for so long … How could society and the system do this kind of thing and use the name of justice?”
He said he was angry because he believed they had been ordered not to discuss their treatment with anyone.