13 Jan '11, 12am

Chinese artist & activist Ai Weiwei said authorities had demolished his newly built Shanghai studio without any warning

SHANGHAI - CHINESE artist Ai Weiwei said on Wednesday authorities had swiftly demolished his newly built Shanghai studio without warning, in a move he said was linked to his political activism. The 53-year-old Ai, one of China's most famous and controversial artists, said the demolition began before dawn on Tuesday, without any prior notification. 'I didn't expect it to happen so quickly, although I knew they will demolish it. But I thought it could be sometime after the Spring Festival,' which begins next month, Ai told AFP. Officials originally asked Ai, who is an outspoken critic of the country's Communist leaders, to build the studio as the centre of a fledgling art district. But then in a U-turn, the city ordered it demolished after he criticised its policies, writing in particular about Shanghai-based activist Feng Zhenghu, who was blocked from returning home from Ja...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Asia/Story/STISt...

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