The dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has publicly revealed, on his Instagram account, a number of photos thought to be of listening devices installed in his Beijing studio, in his absence, over the Summer. The artist captioned one photo of a bugging device on Instagram with “There will always be surprises”.
Liu Xiaoyuan an artist friend confirmed the bugs were found after the artist returned from a trip to Germany. Xiaoyuan tweeted that they were found when redecoration started on Ai’s home and were found in the office and a living room.
The photos categorically show the devices were hidden in electric sockets. This was obviously a professional job and without pointing the finger directly at the government, the artist has only reported the breech of privacy. The artist also posted a video clip of firecrackers being set off in a metal bucket next to one of the devices. He wrote “Did you hear it?” next to the video. Mr Ai retweeted an article saying listening devices had been found at his studio. His 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.
Mr Ai was under house arrest for a number of years before being granted permission and an exit visa to visit his son in Germany and attend the opening of his retrospective at the Royal Academy which is currently on public view.