Ai Weiwei Reveals Details of His Difficult Incarceration

KASSEL, GERMANY - JUNE 13 Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei poses in front of his sculpture 'Template' during a media preview of Documenta 12 on June 13, 2007 in Kassel, Germany. The Documenta is "one of the most important exhibitions of modern and contemporary art" which now takes place every five years in Kassel and will be open to the public June 16 - September 23. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ai Weiwei Photo: Johannes Simon/2007 Getty Images

Breaking the promise he made to authorities that he would remain silent, Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei gave an interview to the New York Times in which he described aspects of his three-month stint in prison this spring. He explained that sergeants remained by his side even as he showered and used the bathroom, which he described as a very effective sort of "mental torture." The details of the incarceration make clear the insignificance of the tax charges on which he was arrested and highlight the concern that Chinese authorities instead have taken with his blog, where he posted commentary and information that was incriminating to China and the Communist Party. "He said he was questioned by police for more than 50 times, and none of those were about the tax issue of the company, but mostly about his blog," one of Mr. Ai's associates said. [NYT]