China Beat Archive


Date of this Version


Document Type



2011 in The China Beat


Copyright 2011. Used by permission.


As I noted in an article I wrote for the Dissent website earlier this week, one of the major China-related stories of 2011 has been the government’s ever-increasing crackdown on public expression. What started subtly back in January—a slowdown in internet service here and there, more websites (including this one) being blocked—became a full-blown international issue on April 3, when artist and activist Ai Weiwei was detained at the Beijing airport. Ai’s disappearance has sparked a flood of analysis and commentaries: Colin Jones discusses “The Purge of Ai Weiwei” at Dissent, Evan Osnos at the New Yorkerhas written a series of blog posts on the subject (here, here, here, here, andhere), and the shows Bob Dylan played in Beijing and Shanghai last week became entangled in the issue as a number of pundits asked “Did Bob Dylan sell out?” for not calling on the Chinese government to release Ai (more links than I can list, but check our Twitter feed for a selection and also listen to friend of the blog Jon Wiener discuss the issue with Dylan-ologist Sean Wilentz during his latest “On the Radio” show).