Ai Weiwei Describes Mental Torment in Captivity
Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei, who has been under gag orders since his
release from arbitrary detention last month, has for the first time revealed
some of the unpleasant details of his detention.
A chance encounter with
Hong Kong journalist Ju Baiyu in a bank in Beijing led to his comments being
published in Apple Daily on Aug. 2.
During the 81 days Ai was in
detention he was interrogated 52 times, the report said.
mention specifics regarding interrogation methods, or whether he was physically
tortured or threatened with torture, instead focusing on the psychological
torment of captivity.
“I lost all connection with the outside world and
was immersed in a world of darkness. I was scared that my existence would fade
silently; no one knew where I was, and no one would ever know. I was just like a
small soybean, once fallen to the ground, it rolls into a crack in the corner.
Being unable to make any sounds, it will forever be forgotten,” he said with
Ai had not spoken to the press since his release on
He said that every day he was woken at 6:30 a.m., and every day
interrogated by two security officers. They
deployed a “conversational method” of interrogation, the article said.
Ai did say he felt “reassured and glad” over the media and public’s
response to the Wenzhou high-speed train crash. Netizens have for the last week
excoriated communist authorities for attempting to lie about and cover-up the
incident, and for the corruption and general lack of transparency that many
assume led to the disaster.
In recent years, Ai has been an outspoken
participant in grass-roots investigations,
including the melamine-tainted milk scandal, and the student death count
following the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. At the time of the earthquake hundreds of
school buildings collapsed while Communist Party buildings remained standing,
leading many parents to suspect that corruption in the regime led to the deaths
of their children. But those attempting to investigate the incident were
harassed and forcibly disbanded.
Ai was arrested at the
Beijing Airport on April 3 and released on bail on June 22 after being detained for 81 days. On June 27,
Beijing’s Municipal Administration of Taxation ordered Ai to pay more than 12 million yuan in owed
taxes and penalties.
Though during the chance encounter
at the bank Ju Baiyu and Ai Weiwei arranged to later meet at his house, when the
former tried to visit, domesticsecurity officers turned her email@example.com