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Ai Weiwei, China's best-known contemporary artist and a co-designer of Beijing's Olympic stadium, the "Bird's Nest," was detained by the Chinese government on April 3, and is now under investigation for "economic crimes." Ai has long been a fearless critic of the government, often using social media like Twitter to broadcast his views about government corruption and repression.
For a while, many thought that his international celebritywould shield him from the harshest government reprisals, though he has been beaten in the past and his studio demolished by the authorities. His detention seems part of the government's crackdown on dissidents and human rights activists since democracy protests rocked the Middle East.
What is the role of the artist in China today? Has it been further constrained?