Amid news of a stepped-up Internet clampdown in China, we’ve learned that artist and blogger Ai Weiwei, whom Utne Reader called “China’s most radical dissident” in our recent international issue, has again provoked the ire of Chinese authorities. The Art Newspaper reports that Ai’s popular blog on Sina.com was yanked off the web last month, and several recent incidents indicate that he’s being closely watched.
It’s no secret that Ai is a thorn in the side of the regime, but the Art Newspaper implies that his most recent critique of the government may have hit an especially sensitive nerve:
Ai Weiwei has been running a campaign documenting the death of schoolchildren in the Sichuan earthquake of May 2008, alleging that the number of fatalities was due to local officials siphoning money from school building costs.
Ai has launched another blog at blog.aiweiwei.com, where he has promised to republish his investigations into the Sichuan disaster. Visit China Digital Times and China Geeks to find occasional translations of, and reports about, his blog entries.