Ai Weiwei Reports Police Siege
Cops harass him at home, rough up cameraman
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2012 6:39 AM CDT
Ai Weiwei, second from left, stopped by a plain clothes policeman while he argues with another policeman, foreground, outside his home in Beijing, June 20, 2012.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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(Newser) – Ai Weiwei says police have prevented him from leaving his studio for a scheduled court appearance today, roughing up one of his employees in the process. "The police started calling me repeatedly yesterday afternoon, warning me to stay away from the court today, which I find pretty confusing," the Chinese artist tells CNN. Then last night, police descended on the studio. "I've never seen so many police cars outside my studio," he says. "At one point last night a few dozen were there, which was unprecedented."

An assistant tried to take pictures of the police, but police destroyed the camera and injured him in the process, the artist said. Another associate was taken by police—"I have no idea what's happening to him now, neither do I know why." A handful of police are still outside the studio today, so Ai sent his wife to court in his place. The hearing was on Ai's tax evasion charges, which he says are politically motivated.