Monday, 9 May 2011

Austria summoned Chinese ambassador to protest Ai’s detention

(, May06, 2011) Austria said May 4 that it had summoned China’s ambassador to Vienna to protest against the continued detention and disappearance of artist and human rights activist Ai Weiwei, reported AFP May 4, citing Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger. “Even somebody who is critical of the regime should be allowed to express himself,” Spindelegger, who met with Ai during a trip to China in February, was quoted as telling journalists afterwards.

The report cited Spindelegger as saying Austria, which was seeking a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council on May 20, would continue to push for the artist’s release, noting: “We know that he remains in custody.”

The report cited Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann as saying he would raise the issue of Ai’s detention during his visit to China later in the week.

Beijing has so far refused to acknowledge Ai’s whereabouts after taking him into custody from Beijing airport, on his way to Hong Kong, on Apr 3.

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