China demolishes famed artist Ai Weiwei's Shanghai studio over political activism

Beijing, Jan 13(ANI): Chinese authorities have demolished Chinese social activist Ai Weiwei's Shanghai studio, a move which he says is linked to his political activism.

According to reports, the local authorities had declared the building illegal, claiming that proper application procedures were not followed.

However, Weiwei claimed that he originally had permission to build the studio, but later officials ordered it to be destroyed.

The 53-year-old, one of China's most famous and controversial artists, said that the demolition started on Tuesday night.

"They wanted to demolish it overnight without us finding out because they were worried the demolition would attract attention," the BBC quoted Weiwei, as saying.We asked why it was demolished earlier than when we were told and they just answered that sooner or later, it would have been done anyway," he added.

Weiwei is perhaps best known for his design for the Beijing Olympic stadium, "the Bird's Nest".

He is also well known for his outspoken social commentary.

After the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, he used his celebrity to assemble volunteers in the disaster area who controversially compiled a list of children who died in the disaster.

The project was aimed at drawing attention to structural problems with several schools destroyed in the earthquake.

Twenty schools had collapsed killing over 5,000 children, all of which had buildings next to them that remained standing.

For his efforts, he was arrested, beaten and prevented from testifying at the trial of another activist charged with inciting the subversion of state power. (ANI)

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