New crop of pro-Ai Weiwei graffiti appears

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 April, 2011, 12:00am

Graffiti and stencil drawings in support of detained artist-activist Ai Weiwei spread further across Hong Kong during the Easter holiday, with former supreme leader Mao Zedong and another activist getting into the action too.

One leading arts group said it believed the latest drawings and paintings were, in part, a protest against the police's decision to use a unit better known for investigating rapes and murders to help find out who created graffiti in support of Ai.

Police received four reports of criminal damage between 2am and 5am yesterday about graffiti in Tsuen Wan and in Hollywood Road and Wellington Street, Central.

The latest pictures also included stencil renditions of Mao and activist Liang Haiyi , who was arrested during a 'jasmine revolution' rally in Harbin in February.

Cartoons with the slogan 'You cannot stop me from telling the truth' were also found in Sha Tsui Road, Tsuen Wan.

Ai was arrested on April 3 while boarding a flight to Hong Kong. Mainland police said he was being investigated for economic crimes.

Since April 11, police have received at least ten reports of graffiti related to Ai, which some reports say have involved more than 30 images.

A police spokesman said the reports were being investigated by different district criminal investigation teams and no one had been arrested.

Rights groups had previously expressed concerns about police drawing the West Kowloon Regional Crime Unit - usually associated with investigations of the most serious crimes - into the investigation.

Tang Siu-wa of Art Citizen, the group that led a protest by Hong Kong artists in support of Ai on Sunday, said the graffiti expressed discontent over the police investigation.

'This was not a rational decision by the police in deploying its regional crime unit to investigate Ai Weiwei drawings. Suppression can only lead to more paintings,' Tang said.

She said the new graffiti might have been the work of different artists from those who did the earlier drawings in Central and Tsim Sha Tsui.

Art Citizen will hold a seminar at Polytechnic University on Saturday, at which artists will discuss the presentation of Ai's paintings in the city and the relationship between politics and art.

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