Beijing’s a ‘nightmare,’ moans tormented Ai

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Beijing’s a ‘nightmare,’ moans tormented Ai

BEIJING - Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has called Beijing a “nightmare” and said China’s justice system cannot be trusted, in his first article for a foreign magazine since his release from detention in June.

The outspoken critic of the Communist Party disappeared for nearly three months earlier this year before Chinese authorities, facing a global outcry, announced he had been detained for tax evasion and freed him.

“The worst thing about Beijing is that you can never trust the judicial system,” Ai wrote in an essay on his native city in the current issue of Newsweek magazine.

“Without trust, you cannot identify anything; it’s like a sandstorm,”

“This city is not about other people or buildings or streets but about your mental structure,” he said.

“Beijing is a nightmare. A constant nightmare.”

Ai, 54, whose art works have been displayed around the world, said his ordeal in police custody made him realize he was only a number in an anonymous system where “they deny us basic rights.”

“Only your family is crying out that you’re missing. But you can’t get answers from the street communities or officials, or even at the highest levels, the court or the police or the head of the nation,” he wrote.

The essay, which risks further displeasing the authorities, follows a series of antigovernment comments posted by Ai on Twitter.

Ai is co-director of the Gwangju Design Biennale 2011. But he will not be present at the biennale, which starts tomorrow, because he is banned from leaving China for one year.

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