In an official news release citing information from the Public Security Bureau, China’s official Xinhua News Agency briefly reported last night that artist Ai Weiwei (艾未未) is under investigation for economic crimes. But the official release disappeared almost immediately. Hong Kong’s Wen Wei Po, a newspaper in the territory generally regarded as supporting the Chinese Communist Party, also reported today on the Xinhua release and its rapid disappearance.
The Wen Wei Po report mentions a hardline editorial on the Ai Weiwei case in yesterday’s Chinese-language Global Times newspaper. Stay tuned to CMP for more on that editorial.
The following is a partial translation of the piece in Hong Kong’s Wen Wei Po today.

Xinhua News Agency: Ai Weiwei Under Investigation for Economic Crimes
April 7, 2011
According to Xinhua News Agency reports — Xinhua News Agency reported in the early hours of the morning today, citing Public Security Bureau information, that Ai Weiwei was under investigation in accordance with the law for suspected involvement in economic crimes.
China’s Official Media Accuse the West of Interference
According to the China News Agency (中通社), the Global Times, [a paper] under the banner of China’s official People’s Daily newspaper, has run a lead editorial today under the headline, “The Law Will Not be Twisted for Mavericks” (法律不会为特立独行者弯曲), which answers the international community’s calls for the release of Ai Weiwei, who has been called “China’s avant-garde artist.” The Reuters news agency reports that the editorial accuses Western governments for their calls on China to release avant-garde artist Ai Weiwei, saying Ai Weiwei has long tested the limits of Chinese laws, and must pay the price for this . . .
According to the Global Times editorial, Western governments have used the Ai Weiwei incident, attacking China’s human rights record, even though they are not clear about even the slightest details in the case, and have no idea which laws Ai Weiwei has violated. [The editorial also] points out that for Western critics to “use heated editorials to attack China is a blind charge against China’s basic political framework, and a trampling of China’s judicial sovereignty.”

David Bandurski

CMP Director

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