More Updates on Ai Weiwei

WARNING: This post contains some graphic images. Proceed at your own risk.

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei keeps on trucking, collecting names and information of students who died in the May 12th earthquake one year ago, and but the censors moving along just the same, deleting posts as he puts them up over and over again. (For some more context of Ai Weiwei’s project and the harassment so far, check out previous stories on ChinaGeeks here, here, here, and here.)

Once again, Ai has posted a list of essays deleted from his blog with typical “Sorry for the inconvenience messages”. Among the deleted was his overview post on the numbers his team has come up with thusfar, which we posted here. He also reposted all of them on April 30th. As of this writing they’re still there, but how long they last this time is anyone’s guess.

Lest one get the impression that Ai Weiwei’s project attracts only harassment, we’ve provided a translation below of a thank you letter posted on Ai’s site. The accompanying photos are from the QQ page linked in the letter, and they are not for the faint of heart.


Hello, Mr. Ai! I’m from Dujiang dam, and I’d like to thank you and your volunteers for your work. After seeing several “strange situations” unfold in front of my own eyes, I’m truly grateful to you all for working to record the names of these children.

I thank the premier, the army and the entire nation and world for helping us and showing love during the disaster, and keeping us from losing hope. We know what it is to be grateful, but faced with the tragic deaths of these children, there is no way to turn a blind eye or forget.

My mother’s home is in Xiang’e, and during the earthquake there were five children from our family who died in the Xiang’e Middle School. My cousin was a second grader in the newly-built Dujiang Dam Primary School; he managed to survive in the critical moment, but his class lost nearly twenty students. We often run into those victims parents, who, glancing at our cousin, mumble, “If only our child had managed to make it out, too…”

I feel that in your investigations you must have come to understand the pain of these parents fairly well. They are the parents of tragically-dead children, why must they still deal with threats and intimidation? Why are there some who have even been detained? Does this mean the guns of those fully armed police and MPs are pointed at the parents?

This is the QQ space of one of the parents of a student who died at the newly-built primary school:

I once understood the situation the schools were in; people said: you’re just a common person, what can you do? I didn’t know how to answer this. But later in Xiang’e I came across a reporter and was interviewed. He said: “We can only act as recorders, recording these students, recording that they once lived. Then, if years later things are good and it is made public, we can act as witnesses and confirm it.”

Thank you all, this is very important because I see that they’re already being forgotten as the reality of the moment gets further and further away from us. I fear one day they may truly be thoroughly forgotten…

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