Wednesday, May 18, 2011

CHINA - The noose is tightening around artists

Censorship extends to China and key artists who have organized activities in support of Ai Weiwei, one of the major artists of the Chinese art scene, reports the Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post. Wu Hongfei singer, rock band Happy Avenue, had to cancel a concert scheduled in Beijing on May 13.

The theme of the concert, "Ai weil" (love the future), was a play on words in honor of Ai Weiwei, who was arrested April 3 by the police. The authorities said he is suspected of economic crimes, but his family remains unclear where he is detained. Moreover, the artist Wang Jun and two colleagues were detained by police when they would organize a rally April 16 in the Arts District 798 in suburban Beijing.

The rally was called Action Has always in honor of Ai Weiwei. Following his arrest, the event of Wang Jun has been canceled. Other arts events unrelated to the artist have been censored or banned. Thus, a festival of documentary films scheduled for early May in Beijing has been canceled, while it is held every year since 2003.

"The authorities wanted to censor films too and left no room for negotiation," said Zhu Rikun organizer in Hong Kong daily.

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