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Renowned satirical artist and Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei, who disappeared in early April and has been detained under shaky allusions to “economic crimes” by the Chinese government for over two months, has finally been released. After admitting to tax evasian, promising to pay fines, and showing a good attitude in detainment, the outspoken trailblazer is FREE AT LAST.
Free to move freely around Beijing, that is, as long as he notifies authorities every time he leaves the house.
Free, despite the fact that he can’t give interviews, make a peep on social media outlets (with 90k followers, Twitter was a major tool for Ai, who tweeted about disappearing activists, human rights violations, etc. prior to his detainment), or step outside of the city without permission. Though he cheerfully emerged to say hello to reporters and the International community this week, Ai has made it clear that he cannot speak publicly about his investigation or life situation, for “at least a year,” intimating a gag order that authorities won’t confirm.
An activist without a voice? That’s a prison unto itself. Let’s not pretend Ai Weiwei is free when he isn’t.
Do you love yourself some Home:Word, the collabo album that Bay Area hip-hop duo Magnetic North and the hotness Taiyo Na released last year?
Then check this! That crew teamed up with fire-tongued superMC Jin to create a celebratory track, just in time for 2011′s API Heritage month. It’s called “I Got My,” and according to MN’s Derek Kan, the song is essentially about “embracing who you are and what you got… fam, music, arts, community, love. It’s for anyone and everyone who respects themselves and is doing something positive with their life.”
Adorably, to honor API Heritage month, the artists have chosen to highlight the gobs of AZN-American peeps they’ve met throughout their musical journey by inviting them into the single’s music video. It’s all our favorite people, from Beau Sia to Wong Fu Productions to Curtis Chin to this-list-of-favorite-people-cameos-is-so-long-we-can’t-list-them-all. They even asked us! But whatever, forget about us! THEY GOT YURI KOCHIYAMA to lip sync hip hop tongue twistaz! WHAT!?!
Check it, love it, love your peeps:
Nobel Peace laureate and Chinese national Liu Xiaobo, who is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for “inciting subversion of state power,” was not present at the December 10 ceremony honoring his prize. Nor was his wife, who has been under house arrest since the Nobel announcement and is apparently now missing.
Instead, an empty chair sat on the Oslo stage between the Nobel Committee members, marking the first time a recipient was not physically present to accept the award. And as panel chief Thorbjoern Jagland placed the Nobel diploma on the chair, it was clear Liu’s presence was felt by the 1,000-person audience, who delivered a standing ovation.
The honoree’s final public statement, issued days before his imprisonment and read aloud at the Nobel ceremony by actress Liv Ullmann, included a message (translated here) for his beloved:
If I may be permitted to say so, the most fortunate experience of these past twenty years has been the selfless love I have received from my wife, Liu Xia. She could not be present as an observer in court today, but I still want to say to you, my dear, that I firmly believe your love for me will remain the same as it has always been. Throughout all these years that I have lived without freedom, our love was full of bitterness imposed by outside circumstances, but as I savor its aftertaste, it remains boundless. I am serving my sentence in a tangible prison, while you wait in the intangible prison of the heart. Your love is the sunlight that leaps over high walls and penetrates the iron bars of my prison window, stroking every inch of my skin, warming every cell of my body, allowing me to always keep peace, openness, and brightness in my heart, and filling every minute of my time in prison with meaning. My love for you, on the other hand, is so full of remorse and regret that it Continue reading AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK! Liu Xiaobo’s Empty Chair
Filed under: Activists, China, Great Loves, Human Rights, I Have No Enemies, Imprisonment, Liu Xia, Liu Xia Missing, Liu Xiaobo, Liu Xiaobo Empty Chair, Nobel Committee, Nobel Diploma, Nobel Laureates, Nobel Peace Prize, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo, Oslo, Political Reform, Standing Ovation, Tears, Thorbjoern Jagland
It’s difficult to believe even as we write the words: Our friend John Delloro died suddenly on Saturday from a heart attack. He was 38.
Like our cohort Phil, we met John this year when he invited us to speak to his freshman Asian American Studies students at UCLA (God bless him, he was the first professor ever to cite us on a final exam). We instantly knew that John was a special person, pure soul and our brother from another mother–and we can only imagine the loss felt right now by those that have known and loved him longer. We only wish we’d had the pleasure.
John is certainly overdue for the honor of Amazian of the Week. In addition to his work in academia, he was a community leader, and a longstanding activist for labor unions and immigrant rights: he ran the Dolores Huerta Labor Institute, co-founded the Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California, sat on boards for the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance and PWC, and organized for the SEIU as well as a number of other union groups. Never without action, he defined the word “activist.” And hell, with all those jobs and achievements, he also defined “Amazian.” No Hardass Asian Parent would disagree with that.
Since he was a reader and supporter of this site, we think that John would have been happy to see himself honored as this week’s Amazian. He would have probably wanted us to write more jokes in the post, but right now we just can’t seem to muster any.
We hold his family and friends in our thoughts, and know that right now he’s smiling that warm smile somewhere up in the sky.
Filed under: AAPI Activists, Activists, Asian-American Studies, Community Leaders, Community Organizers, Dolores Huerta Labor Institute, John Delloro, Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance, Pilipino Workers Center fo Southern California, Professors, Sadness, SEIU, Students, UCLA, UCLA Professor John Delloro, Unfunny Stuff
Happy 52nd birthday to Hong Kong activist Leung Kwok-hung! You’ve spent many moons growing out that coif (we hear that you aren’t cutting it until China apologizes for the 1989 crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests)– here’s hoping you have reason for a trim this year.
Occupation: Actor/gay rights activist
Known for: Playing Hikaru Sulu with dignity on Star Trek, publicly coming out after Governor Schwarznegger refused to sign a same-sex marriage bill in California, teaching Hiro Nakamura how to sack up on Heroes, that rich, stentorian voice
Watch Takei as Kaito Nakamura tonight on the season finale of Heroes. He’s teaching Hiro how to use his samurai sword, at long last!