Ai Weiwei was detained on the morning of April 3rd at Beijing Capital Airport as he attempted to fly to Hong Kong. He was accompanied by his assistant, who was allowed to travel and has already arrived safely in Hong Kong.
Ai Weiwei remains in police custody and his phone is turned off. No one has been able to confirm his whereabouts since his detainment around 7 am BST. Eight of Ai Weiwei’s studio assistants have also been taken into local police custody at the Caochangdi station.
A friend of Ai Weiwei and Twitter persona known as ‘wentommy’ was removed from a residence in Caochangdi by 4-5 plainclothes police officers driving a unmarked black sedan. This occurred as power was cut to Ai Weiwei’s FAKE Studio.
Police officers swarmed the Beijing compound, searching computers and interrogating Ai’s wife, Lu Qing. Guardian correspondent Jonathan Watts biked to the compound and photographed the police presence, only to have his camera confiscated by plainclothes police officers.
Many of the posts on Sina Weibp about Ai Weiwei’s detention have been deleted since mid-morning.
It is unclear why these events have unfolded, but they happen on the heels of Ai’s recent announcement that he will open a 16,000 square foot studio complex in Berlin.
Originally Reported 07/04/2011