Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been arrested in Beijing after attempting to board a flight to Hong Kong. He has now been uncontactable for over 14 hours. The artist’s studio has been searched, his computers confiscated and several of his assistants held for questioning. His arrest is part of a significant state-led crackdown on political activists that has seen over 23 people detained in recent weeks, mainly for ‘creating a disturbance’.
This is not the first time Ai Weiwei has clashed with authorities. Last year he was placed under house arrest after attempting to organise a party to mark the forced demolition of his studio in Shanghai. The artist was also allegedly assaulted by two officers in the South Western province of Sichuan and his first large scale solo exhibition in mainland China was cancelled in February.
Ai Weiwei’s whereabouts are currently unknown and Beijing police are refusing to comment on his detention.