BEIJING — The Chinese authorities on Sunday detained Ai Weiwei, a high-profile artist and stubborn government critic, as he tried to board a plane for Hong Kong, his friends and associates said. Mr. Ai’s wife, his nephew and a number of his employees were also taken into custody during a raid on his studio on the outskirts of the capital.
Rights advocates say the detentions are an ominous sign that the Communist Party’s six-week crackdown on rights lawyers, bloggers and dissidents is spreading to the upper reaches of Chinese society. Mr. Ai, 53, the son of one of the country’s most beloved poets, is an internationally renowned artist, a documentary filmmaker and an architect who helped design the Olympic stadium in Beijing known as the Bird’s Nest.via The New York Times
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