China´s communist rulers are continuing their crackdown on critics. One of China´s most famous artists and human right activists, Ai Weiwei was detained on Sunday at the Beijing airport:
Reuters has more on the detention of Weiwei:
China's detention of internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei has sparked a petition urging his release, exposing alarm among the nation's liberal intellectuals who see his case as a test of how far a crackdown to stifle dissent could reach.
Chinese officials have not commented on the whereabouts of Ai, who was stopped on Sunday from boarding a flight from Beijing to Hong Kong and taken away by border police. There is little doubt he has joined a lengthening list of dissidents and activists in detention or informal custody.
Ai has been out of contact; his mobile phone is off.
His wife, Lu Qing, told Reuters that police officers would not give her any information, and this detention appeared more serious than his recent run-ins with the government.
"This time it's extremely serious," she said, adding that she was considering retaining a lawyer.
"They searched his studio and took discs and hard drives and all kinds of stuff, but the police haven't told us where he is or what they're after. There's no information about him."
The disappearance of Ai, a burly, bearded 53-year-old avant-garde artist and designer who had a hand in designing the Bird's Nest stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has drawn condemnation from Western governments.
The United States, Britain and Germany denounced China's growing use of extra-judicial detentions against dissidents who the ruling Communist Party fears could spread calls for protests inspired by Middle Eastern uprisings.
On Tuesday, the United States embassy and European Union delegation in Beijing repeated those denunciations, illustrating how Ai's case could escalate into a diplomatic row.
Chinese activists are also increasingly alarmed about Ai's detention, and supporters in China and abroad promoted an online drive urging authorities to free him.
The reaction from the US, Britain and Germany is welcome but not at all enough. More and much tougher action against China´s communist rulers is needed.