Friday, Nov. 11, 2011

Ai Weiwei

This potbellied, bearded artist is a real pain for Beijing. Once a darling of communist elites, Ai Weiwei — designer, sculptor and now fierce advocate for democratic reform — has found himself persona non grata in recent years, beaten up by Chinese police and held for nearly three months this year in secret detention on charges of tax evasion that supporters say are politically motivated. The Chinese government now claims that Ai owes the state $2.4 million — a bill that triggered thousands of private donations from ordinary Chinese citizens to Ai's doorstep.