[CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT ★]
CHINESE ARTIST AI WEIWEI FINDS SURVEILLANCE DEVICES IN HIS STUDIO
(P1) Ai Weiwei has posted a number of pictures of what he says are listening devices found in his Beijing studio.
(P3) His friend Liu Xiaoyuan confirmed the bugs were found after the artist returned from a trip to Germany.
(P4) Xiaoyuan tweeted that they were found when REDECORATION started on Ai’s home and were found in the office and a living room.
(P5) The pictures show the devices were hidden in electric sockets.
(P6) Ai Weiwei’s mother Gao Ying told Radio Free Asia that she believed the devices were placed in his studio four years ago when the artist was arrested and his studio was searched by the authorities.
(P7) The artist has long been critical of the RULING Communist Party and was held in 2011 for 81 days before being released.
(P9) He was later given a 15 million yuan (£1.5m) fine for evading taxes, although the artist maintains the charges were politically motivated in RETALIATION for his criticism of the Chinese Government.
(P10) The authorities kept his PASSPORT for four years but it was returned earlier this year.
(P11) Since then he has visited Germany, where his son lives, and London.
(P12) In September he was in London for the launch of a RETROSPECTIVE of his work at the Royal Academy.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Secret SURVEILLANCE of artists, writers, and musicians has occurred in most major countries, including China, the U.S., the U.K., and Russia. Why are the authorities so interested in creative personalities?
- Do the Internet and social media EVEN THE PLAYING FIELD by allowing activists to EMBARRASS governments?
- Do you believe that governments often use TRUMPED-UP legal charges to HARASS its critics?
- Have you ever felt that you were being watched?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Tax evasion
- Even the playing field