In Brief

Ai Weiwei's work to defend human rights would stand even if he were guilty—but it's safe to assume these charges are fabricated

This article titled “Ai Weiwei isn’t on trial: China is” was written by Jonathan Jones, for guardian.co.uk on Thursday 14th April 2011 16.02 UTC

The story of Ai Weiwei is turning into a dark fable that seems to belong in another age of modern history. In Bertolt Brecht’s play Life of Galileo, a dissident intellectual recants his beliefs under pressure from an intolerant regime. It was a hit in the US, but Brecht, a communist, decided in spite of its success to return to live in east Berlin. Later, as he observed the absurdities of the Soviet regime, he was moved to joke that the state should elect another people.

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