Ai Weiwei ‘ordered to turn cameras off’

Posted filed underChina, Internet, Streaming.

Update from the BBC: “Ai Weiwei says he has been ordered to shut down four live webcams at his home, which he set up as a nod to the 24-hour police surveillance he has lived under for the last year. The artist told the BBC that he installed cameras at his desk, outside his home and above his bed to encourage transparency. He said he was ordered turn off the camera feeds but he told Radio 4′s World at One that he “won’t be shut down”.” (The BBC has a brandnew radio interview with Ai WeiWei)

Ai Weiwei just installed studio webcams for supporters and security services. On the one-year anniversary of his detention, the artist has a gift to friends worried about his safety and the authorities who want to know what he’s up to.

The Guardian reports: “Outspoken Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is used to being the centre of attention. Now he is subject to more scrutiny than ever after installing four webcams in his studio, so admirers – and police – can watch him round the clock.

The 54-year-old artist said the live webfeed, installed one year after he was detained by officials, was a gift to supporters who worry for his safety and the public security bureau, who want to know what he has been up to.

“It is the exact day, one year ago, that I went missing for 81 days. All my family and friends and everyone who cared were wondering where this guy was. So on the anniversary I think people may have worries. It’s a gift to them: I’m here and you can see me,” he said.

His detention at Beijing airport , one of a spate of disappearances of activists last spring, caused an international outcry.

“This is also a gift to public security because they follow me, tap my phone and do what is necessary to get ‘secrets’ from me. I don’t have secrets,” Ai said, poiting out there were now 15 surveillance cameras within a 100m stretch of road outside his home, making it the most-watched area of Beijing.

“They want to watch me day and night. We have four cameras inside so they can see clearly what I am doing and make sure they are happy with it,” he said. One of the cameras is mounted over his bed, one over his computer, another aimed at the studio and a fourth in his courtyard.

Ai said he had not decided how long they would remain in place. “I even forget they are there,” he said. “If someone has a photo of me picking my nose, I’m not self-conscious. I’m just going to do my work and see what comes out.”"

Read on at The Guardian.

- It looks like those webcams are offline already…..