Worldwide sit-in planned in support of detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei


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The detention of artist Ai Weiwei by Chinese authorities has prompted a worldwide outcry from human rights groups, politicians and arts organizations. On Sunday, some of Ai’s supporters are planning a show of solidarity through a peaceful sit-down in front of Chinese embassies, consulates and other government buildings around the world.

The sit-in is planned for 1 p.m. local time Sunday. Participants are being asked to bring chairs and gather outside Chinese government buildings ‘in support of the artist’s immediate release.’ The event is being organized by Creative Time, a nonprofit organization that commissions and presents public art projects. The organization announced the sit-on this week on its Facebook page.


The address for the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles is 443 Shatto Place, near Vermont and 6th streets.

Creative Time said that the planned sit-in is a reference to Ai’s installation ‘Fairytale: 1001 Qing Dynasty Wooden Chairs’ that was shown in 2007 at Documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany.

While the reasons for Ai’s detention remain unclear, reports have stated that the Chinese government is building a case against the artist that involves tax fraud and ‘economic crimes.’ Many people believe that his detention is retaliation against the artist’s criticism of the Communist Party in the past years. Ai has publicly criticized the Chinese government for its handling of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, in which many children were killed as a result of shoddy construction of schoolhouses. He also has used Twitter and other social-networking tools to communicate with his supporters.

Ai was detained last week in Beijing as he was attempting to board a flight to Hong Kong. His whereabouts remain unknown.


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— David Ng

Photo (top): Ai Weiwei in 2010. Credit: Uwe Zucchi / EPA.

Photo (bottom): Ai in his Beijing studio. Credit: Alexander F. Yuan / Associated Press.