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Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was questioned by police in Beijing this week for allegedly 'attacking' a security camera that authorities are using to monitor him. The artist has been under heavy surveillance since he was detained for 81 days last year. However, Ai's family and many netizens see a funny side to this latest incident.
On January 15th, the outspoken Chinese artist Ai Weiwei posted on Twitter: "Last night I was summoned by Chaoyang police station, the reason for the summons was that I was suspected of attacking a security camera."
The post has caused an outpouring of jokes online. One netizen posted: "Was the camera badly injured? Did it have a checkup? Did they do a CT scan?"
Economist He Qinglian posted on her Twitter account: "This story is really amusing, 'attacking' normally refers to behavior against people. The camera is a thing, not a person. Only the Communist Party would raise the tools of the regime to the status of people. The 'mighty Party' has followed its desires to a ridiculous degree."
Ai Weiwei's mother, Gao Ying, considers the incident as a joke.
[Gao Ying, Ai Weiwei's Mother]:
"There are so many of these jokes, just treat it as a joke. [The police] summoned him, they had seen some people on the video throwing things at the camera."
Ai Weiwei was detained for 81 days in 2011 for alleged tax evasion. Many suspect the detention was to warn the outspoken artist not to be critical of the regime. Since Ai's release, he has been under surveillance.
Ai isn't the only one to have suffered this kind of intrusion into his life. After requesting an interview with Chinese leader Hu Jinato, Beijing-based independent filmmaker Yang Weidong has also found himself under video monitoring.