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Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has launched a scathing criticism of China's ruling regime for the first time since he was released from detention in June. The artist, who helped design the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing, wrote a strongly worded commentary online. He's accusing the Chinese Communist Party of denying basic rights to citizens.
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei says Beijing is a "city of violence."
It's his first scathing criticism of the ruling regime since he was released from detention in June. In a commentary published on the Newsweek magazine website, Ai accuses Chinese officials of denying basic rights to citizens.
Ai wrote, "Beijing is a nightmare... A constant nightmare."
He describes the disparity between the workers from poor provinces who move to Beijing and live in shantytowns, and the "government, coal bosses and heads of big enterprises" who frequent the restaurants, karaoke bars and saunas.
He says the city's rapid development was imposed "according to somebody else's will, somebody else's power," making it hard for residents of Beijing to relate to their own city.
Ai says the worst thing about Beijing is that the judicial system cannot be trusted. He alludes to his own detention, saying his wife petitioned the authorities daily but was not told where he was being kept.
Ai wrote, "The strongest character of those spaces is that they're completely cut off from your memory or anything you're familiar with...You're in total isolation. And you don't know how long you're going to be there, but you truly believe they can do anything to you."
He says Beijing citizens who supported him were too scared to say so openly, and suggested he might consider migrating overseas.