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Ai Weiwei

Chinese activist Ai Weiwei says his art studio was demolished without notice

It is Ai’s second studio to be torn down by Chinese authorities after one was demolished in Shanghai in 2011 without warning.

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 August, 2018, 2:27am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 August, 2018, 10:13pm

Wrecking crews demolished Ai Weiwei’s studio in Beijing without warning, the artist and activist said on social media.

Ai, who is one of China’s best-known artists and government critics, posted a series of videos Saturday showing the crews knocking down the interior and exterior, first breaking windows and then walls as the building turned into a pile of dust and rubble.

The artist raised the alarm on Friday that his famous studio “zuo you” was being flattened and that he had received no advanced notice.

He described the large studio as an “East German-style socialist factory building.”

Ai’s former studio was part of the Caochangdi Art District in the suburbs of northeast Beijing. Ai helped establish the area nearly two decades ago.

In late July, several galleries in the area were told they were being evicted to make way for redevelopment, according to the New York- and London-based Art Newspaper.

It is Ai’s second studio to be torn down by Chinese authorities after one was demolished in Shanghai in 2011 without warning.

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Famous for his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government, Ai lived under house arrest in China for four years until 2015, when he was allowed to leave for Germany. He established a studio in Berlin, but in May announced his plans to move elsewhere.