Chinese artist Ai Weiwei ordered to stop webcam project

Ai Weiwei The artist has been highly vocal about human rights issues in China

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Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has turned off the four live webcams in his home following orders from the Chinese authorities.

He installed the webcams on Tuesday to mark the anniversary of his 81 days of detention during a crackdown on political activists last year.

The Chinese authorities called him on Wednesday afternoon ordering their removal, he said.

Ai is currently fighting tax evasion charges related to his company.

Tax evasion charges were brought against his design company, Fake Cultural Development Ltd, when he was released from detention last June.

Activists have argued that the charges are politically motivated, as the internationally renowned artist has at times been an outspoken critic of the government.

Speaking to the BBC, Ai said he did not know the reason behind the order to shut the webcams.

"I don't even have a reason for why they put me away for 81 days," he said. "There's never clear, rational discussion."

'Transparency and openness'

Ai described the project as "a negotiation between private space, the public nature of security, and the power of the state".

Following his period of detention last year, many people were concerned about his activities and whereabouts, he said.

He had decided to put up the webcams so that his family and friends, and the authorities, could see his every movement.

He said that he had hoped to encourage transparency and openness from all sides.

Following the closure, Ai announced on his Twitter feed: "The cameras have been shut down. Bye-bye to all the voyeurs."

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