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Ai Weiwei: Beijing studio demolished

August 4, 2018

One of China's best-known artists and government critics, Ai Weiwei, says workers have demolished his studio in Beijing. He said the demolition occurred without notice.

A wrecking machine tearing down the studio of renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei on the outskirts of Shanghai, China
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Coca Dai

Well-known Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has posted videos on Instagram showing working crews razing the Beijing studio that had been his primary workspace since 2006.

"Today, they started to demolish my studio 'zuo you' in Beijing with no precaution," Ai wrote in English. He posted the videos on Friday and Saturday.

It is the second studio belonging to Ai that has been torn down by Chinese authorities. Another one was demolished in Shanghai in 2011, also without warning.

Read moreChina's most famous artist abroad: Who is Ai Weiwei? 

Ai Weiwei standing in his Berlin studio amongst pieces of wood
Ai Weiwei also has a studio in BerlinImage: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Kappeler

Well-known dissident

It is unclear whether the demolition is targeting Ai, who is known as an outspoken critic of human rights violations and government corruption in China. Several galleries in the area were told in late July that they were going to be removed to make way for redevelopment, according to the Art Newspaper, which is based in New York and London.

The 60-year-old artist was charged with tax evasion and lived under house arrest in China for four years until 2015, when he moved to Germany and established a studio in Berlin. In May, he announced plans to move elsewhere.

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tj/jlw (dpa, AP)