Wu Yuren

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If its any consolation to Liu Xiaobo (though I expect its not), he is in good company as so many are locked up in Chinese prisons on trumped up charges. In this case, I’m thinking of Wu Yuren 吴玉仁 , imprisoned this summer and now still in jail for allegedly injuring the finger of a police officer who, by many accounts, was beating him at the time.

In fact, Wu’s wife, a Canadian citizen now no doubt fairly frantic over the extended incarceration of her husband, believes the imprisonment has as much to do with a political demonstration Wu and others (among them Ai Weiwei….again) engaged in in February 22, 2010 than it does with the specific altercation at a Beijing police station that he was charged with in June. The focus of the February demonstration was the imminent destruction of the Chuangyi Zhengyang Art Zone 创意正阳艺术区 in the Chaoyang district of Beijing, a destruction which was preceded by the beating of many of the artists residents of the area by “Black Society” thugs 黑社会 .  The event was reported in this July New York Times piece by Edward Wong, weeks after Wu’s June imprisonment

Wong’s account follows others, including Yan Xianniang, blogger for Sina.com describes:

事件起因于今日凌晨2点左右,位于北京朝阳区的创意正阳艺术区发生强制拆迁,据目击者称来了近200个黑社会的流氓,带着凶器,槁棒,大砍刀,面戴口罩,打伤艺术家七人。

[the incident occurred this morning at 2 am, when eye-witness accounts describe 200 or so Dark Society agents arrived with bats and knives and wounded seven artists living in the Chuangyi Zhengyang Art District in Chaoyang area of Beijing]

and in the weeks leading up to the destruction, “large character” posters the like of:

[inhumane developers have cut our heat and electricity–image from report on event from 99 Art Web ]

I’m interested in this event among other things because Zhong Biao’s studio, mentioned elsewhere in this blog, is another Beijing-area art district slated for destruction in the not-too-distant future. Zhong himself seems to face this fact with a resigned shrug which is no doubt partially why no one has seen fit to send goons to his front door. Nonetheless, how others in his compound may respond to the arrival of bulldozers remains to be seen.

Yet an important point of contrast: the Zhengyang installation was raised to make way for new development.  The Blackbridge area is slated to become an ever-widening ‘greenification’ program led by the Beijing government.  Trading art for trees…

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