» This on top of a long arrest earlier this year: Ai Weiwei spent 81 days in jail on tax evasion charges, but claims all authorities wanted to talk about was his pro-democracy record. The fine Ai has been forced to pay is more than three times the size of his tax bill — and he needs help paying. The surprising part is that he actually got said help. “It’s surprising; it has really changed my perspective on people,” he said, noting that people traveled long distances to give him financial help — in person. Ai prefers to think of the payments as loans, and turned down a $157,000 payment from a businessman, saying he preferred smaller loans.
idroolinmysleep asks: I'm a little uncomfortable with Google renaming Green Square. It's basically a private company doing what a nation-state should be doing -- usurping a nation's powers, if you will. We can argue all day long that it IS a private company and its decisions have no geopolitical significance, but the reality is that its humongous user base in some ways makes it a de facto official map.
» SFB says: A totally valid point about the name change, and one that’s totally on the record. We’re not against the change ourselves; it’s insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but symbolic. But we totally understand and feel your point. — Ernie @ SFB
Western capitals are failing to understand the magnitude of what is happening now. The Chinese authorities are actively seeking to try to redefine the boundaries of which opinions are tolerable, and which are not.Nicholas Bequelin, researcher for Human Rights Watch in China • Speaking on the grim state of Chinese affairs, in the wake of the arrest of famed artist and dissident Ai Weiwei. He argues that the Chinese’s tightening grip over the citizenry indicates a meaningful shift towards more abject totalitarianism. Bequelin added: “We know for certain that there are lawyers who haven’t been arrested, but have been clearly threatened. They’ve been told ‘the gloves are off, we can do anything we like now’. One was informed that ‘the party has special ways to deal with people like you’.” source (via • follow)