Ai Weiwei Calls His Detention 'A Kind of Mental Torture'

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Even though Chinese authorities have banned Ai Weiwei from speaking to the press as part of his bail conditions, he's been posting remarks on Twitter, joined Google+, gave a tame interview to the Chinese state-controlled press,  and has gradually begun criticizing the Chinese government. He has now also spoken briefly with The New York Times about the conditions of his detention: “It is designed as a kind of mental torture, and it works well." The Times also says Ai said his guards were never more than 30 inches away from him, including when he slept, showered and used the bathroom.

Ai, however, has left it to an anonymous associate to explain his detention to the media. On Wednesday, Reuters reported on the harsh mental conditions of Ai's treatment by police. A similarly sourced account also appears in Friday's Times:

"He said he was questioned by police for more than 50 times, and none of those was about the tax issue of the company, but mostly about his blog," the associate said, adding that the police had vehemently criticized Mr. Ai for his postings. "'How dare you say those things, you are too defiant, disobedient,’ they would say."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.