From The Guardian today [Link]:
The driver and accountant of Ai Wei Wei, now desaparecido for a week, are reported missing. Xang Jingsong aka Xiao Pang, and Mrs. Hu are now missing, according to their families. It is not known a this time whether they have gone underground or been seized by the secret police.
Now an enemy of the state, Ai Wei Wei is being mischaracterized by Chinese media over the weekend, claiming that many in China regarded his work as "third rate", and citing a variety of unverified allegations -- as if saying it will make it so.
"Zhao Qizheng, former head of the State Council Information Office, was quoted by China Daily as saying. “Now we need to talk better, to make our messages clearer to the world.” Source [Link]
Mr. Qizheng, the message is quite clear. The time now is not for couching what is happening in decorative words, but to act better. This government is doing more damage to its own future in the arts globally than anything Ai Wei Wei or all the other desaparecidos could have ever said or done.
The irony and dissonance between opening the great museum with The Art of The Enlightenment while having your secret police rounding up your best artists is unbelievable. Here is a video by China Forbidden News on this [Link], thanks to Culture Grrrl [Link].
To Chinese artists, activists, poets: Our hearts and minds are with you. We are One.
To the Government, please, please stop this purge. There is still time. These people you are abducting are your future, your creatives, the Beloveds of the Motherland, your mark on the art world, on History, and I know you care about this.
No one builds a great museum like yours unless you love, understand and care about the arts. Care, love and understand your artists as well. They are among the best on the planet. Destroy and intimidate a generation of your creatives, and you'll set the cultural development of your nation back by 30 years.