Bonus Material: Chinese Dissident Artist Ai Weiwei to Attend FBF

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Ai Wei Wei uploaded this picture from his hospital room in Munich, showing German newspaper coverage of his ordeal

Ai Wei Wei uploaded this picture from his hospital room in Munich, showing German newspaper coverage of his ordeal

Spiegel reports that Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is now recovering in Munich from surgery to treat a brain injury likely linked to a beating he endured in Sichuan in August while reporting on the fatalities of school children in last year’s earthquake. We described this project in an earlier edition of Publishing Perspectives. Ai told Spiegel that Chinese state secret police had attacked him in his hotel room. He has posted pictures online from his hospital room using twitpic.

Spiegel, the leading news magazine in Germany, suggests that Weiwei’s accusations “come at an inopportune” time for the Frankfurt Book Fair, which this year features China as the Guest of Honor.

Nevertheless, it is worth noting that Ai Weiwei is among a large constituency Chinese writers critical of the state who are expected to attend the event. If my brief time with Ai this past June when I visited him in his Beijing studio is any indication, he won’t be a docile or quiet presence at the Fair. At the very least, expect him to have planned some kind of provocation to the official Chinese delegation.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.