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The New York Times reports that yesterday that, in a surprise move, crews with bulldozers tore down the newly-constructed Shanghai studio of internationally-known artist Ai Weiwei. The government has been escalating persecution of Ai following his statements in support of imprisoned Nobel peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo. Ai, who was once regarded as the public figure who proved the Chinese government’s increasing openness to free speech, was reported as saying he must now regard the studio as a performance piece.

- Meredith Tromble [Wednesday, January 12th, 2011]

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