On Sunday April 3 my friend and collaborator Ai Weiwei was seized by Beijing police. He has not been seen or heard from since. Weiwei is a brilliant artist, curious thinker, adventurous eater, and courageous defender of freedom of expression. His arrest, which has not been explained or even acknowledgedby the authorities, violates the basic human rights promised him by The Constitutionof the People’s Republic of China. Due to the restricted nature of Chinese media, it is unlikely that many of Weiwei’s fellow citizens will ever hear of his mistreatment. Since his arrest, his name has been stricken from domestic search engines and blogging platforms.

Weiwei is just the most recent and most prominent subject of a Jasmine-infused crackdown on free expression in the which the government has “criminally detained 26 [now 27] individuals, disappeared more than 30, and put more than 200 under soft detention,” according to a report by Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

External pressure is now being applied by foreign ministries and supporters in the cultural world. If your government hasn’t yet spoken up, please contact your local politicians and media and alert them. And please sign the petition currently active on Twitter, a platform near and dear to Weiwei’s heart.

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