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Ai Weiwei's studio torn down without interference
Published on: 2011-01-12
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A crew of workers tore down the Shanghai studio of Ai Weiwei Tuesday, a development the outspoken artist said was linked to two controversial documentaries.

Demolition crews under the orders of Jiading district officials showed up at the studio at 6 am Tuesday and began working.

A construction worker at the scene told a Global Times reporter that they would complete tearing down the studio sometime Wednesday.

There were more than 16 workers and three diggers at the spot.

"No conflict happened, police also came this morning to maintain order," he said.

Chen Jie, director of the urban construction department in Malu township, told the Global Times they informed Ai his new studio would be destroyed but not the specific day and time.

"We told them the studio would be demolished within a certain period of time, but there was no specific time given," Chen said.

The demolition notice was issued on October 19 and it said the studio failed to follow proper application procedures.

Photos of the demolition work were posted on Ai's and his friends' Twitter and Sina microblog Tuesday.

Calls to Ai went unanswered Tuesday.

The artist told the Global Times during an earlier interview that he signed a 30-year lease with the village committee in Malu town in Jiading district in 2008 for 60,000 yuan ($8,988) a year. The external part of Ai's studio was completed in March, 2009.

The 2,000-square-meter studio cost about 7 million ($1 million) in total.

Ai had also said that local authorities proposed to compensate him.

The artist told the Global Times early November that demolition was indeed connected to his decision to release two documentary films.

One is about a man who killed six police officers in Shanghai, and the other is about a Shanghai lawyer, Feng Zhenghu, who was stranded at Tokyo's Narita airport for more than 100 days, according to Ai.

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