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Films on detained China artist to screen in Taiwan

TAIPEI (AFP) ― A Taiwanese art center is to screen several films about Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in a show of support for the detained dissident, an organizer said Saturday.

The Taipei Contemporary Art Center will kick off its showings next week with the documentary “A Lonely Man,” directed by Ai, along with a discussion of his work and China’s censorship of the arts, said organiser Manray Hsu.

“We urge the Chinese government to immediately release Ai and stop suppressing dissidents,” said Hsu.

The center will also co-host the Urban Nomad Film Fest, which is scheduled to show two Ai-related documentaries ― “Lao Ma Ti Hua” and “Why Are The Flowers So Red” ― in May, he said.

Taiwan’s government earlier this week called on Beijing to immediately release Ai, who was detained on Sunday before a scheduled visit to the island to discuss an exhibition.

Ai, who is due to hold a solo exhibition in Taiwan in November, had been expected to meet curators at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum on Wednesday, the museum said.

Ai ― best known in the West as a designer of the famed “Bird’s Nest”Olympic stadium in Beijing ― was taken into custody at Beijing’s international airport as he prepared to board a flight to Hong Kong.

China has warned the international community not to interfere in Ai’s case and said he has been detained for investigation of unspecified economic crimes.

In 2009 Beijing condemned the screening of a biopic about exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer at Taiwan’s Kaohsiung film festival, and the local tourism sector complained of a steep fall in business amid reports of a boycott by Chinese tourists.
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