In seeming disregard, or perhaps in spite of it, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei broke the conditions of his release from a detention in Beijing to issue a scathing attack on the Chinese government in an online editorial published by Newsweek.
Ai has long been a critical opponent of Beijing, calling China's capital a city of violence.
Beijing is two cities. One is of power and of money. People don't care who their neighbors are; they don't trust you, Ai wrote. The other city is one of desperation. ... Every year millions come to Beijing to build its bridges, roads, and houses. Each year they build a Beijing equal to the size of the city in 1949. They are Beijing's slaves.
Under the conditions of Ai's release, he is not to be interviewed by journalists, meet foreigners, use the Internet or interact with rights advocates for a year. Nevertheless, he has taken to his Twitter account on behalf of detained dissidents and his associates who were held during the time that he was and have since been released.
Ai: You Can't Trust Beijing's Judicial System
Alluding to his time in detention, Ai said: The worst thing about Beijing is that you can never trust the judicial system.
My ordeal made me understand that on this fabric, there are many hidden spots where they put people without identity. With no name, just a number. They don't care where you go, what crime you committed.
Ai confirmed to Reuters Monday that he had written the commentary, saying it was his ruminations of living in Beijing. He also said he did not know what the consequences for his action would be, if any.
The 54-year-old artist is known for his work on the Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing. His other works, notably a video series devoted to Beijing's ring-road system of highways, also represent the similar themes.