Chair Protest: Supporters Demand Ai Weiwei's Release

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Renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been missing for a month. On Monday, his supporters in Hong Kong called for his release. They staged a symbolic protest echoing one of Ai's art installations using chairs and people.

Chanting "Free Ai Weiwei," hundreds of protestors in Hong Kong demanded the Chinese regime release the dissident artist on Monday. Ai has now been missing for a month. Police detained him at a Beijing airport on April 3rd.

The protest at Hong Kong's Victoria Park was symbolic. Using chairs, protestors formed the Chinese character for "prison." The formation echoed one of Ai's art installations in 2007, where he used 1001 Ming and Qing dynasty wooden chairs in an exhibit in Germany.

Hong Kong democracy advocate Lee Cheuk-yan says the demonstration reflects the prison under the Chinese regime' one party rule.

[Lee Cheuk-yan, Hong Kong Democracy Advocate]:
"Actually Ai Weiwei had already been arrested for one month, and there is no news at all of his whereabouts, and the regime still detained him without any legal process. So we are demanding the release of Ai Weiwei. And today we used 1,001 chairs to symbolize [that] under one party rule, humans are being imprisoned, and so we want to break this one party rule and to have a democratic China."

And the protestors did just that. At the demonstration, they kicked through the chair formation, as though they were breaking down the one-party prison.

As a special administrative region of China, Hong Kong enjoys social and civic freedoms unavailable in the mainland. Since Ai went missing, his supporters in Hong Kong have staged a series of protests demanding his release.

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