China Censors Artist Leading Quake Inquiry

Police stake out whistleblower's studio, shut down blog
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2009 9:45 AM CDT
A mother and grandmother mourn for their child who died at a school in the May 12, 2008 earthquake, at a cemetery in Qingchuan County in Sichuan.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Tao Ming)
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(Newser) – The Chinese artist who has made investigating the deaths of children in the Sichuan earthquake a personal crusade is facing a government crackdown, reports the CBC. Ai Weiwei's widely read blog has been deleted, and plainclothes police officers are staking out his studio in Beijing. Ai has relaunched his blog on an American server but said, "I don't know how long it will last before it is blocked."

Ai has exhibited across Europe and Asia and collaborated on the design for the "Bird's Nest" Olympic stadium. But his muckraking in Sichuan—he collected the names of more than 5,000 children who died in the quake and accused Communist Party officials of corruption—has infuriated government officials, who even sent undercover police to his mother's house. Ai told the Art Newspaper that even if his new blog is shuttered, "the server is in the US, so the content will remain."