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Wed, 06 Apr 2011 13:12 - Updated Wed, 06 Apr 2011 13:12

China dismisses int'l concerns over missing artist


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Beijing - A state-run Chinese newspaper on Wednesday brushed aside international concerns over the fate of a prominent artist and activist missing since the weekend, calling him a maverick who lacks respect for the country's laws.

Human rights groups as well as the U.S., Britain and the European Union delegation in Beijing have expressed concern about Ai Weiwei, an avant-garde artist and outspoken government critic who was last seen early Sunday in police custody after he was barred from boarding a flight at a Beijing airport.

An editorial in the Global Times newspaper, published by the ruling Communist Party's flagship People's Daily, said the international outcry was a deliberate attempt to undermine social stability in China.

"The West's behavior aims at disrupting the attention of Chinese society and attempts to modify the value system of the Chinese people," it said.

The newspaper called the 53-year-old Ai a maverick and said he engaged in "legally ambiguous activities" and liked to do things ordinary people wouldn't dare to try.

Chinese law "won't bend to mavericks," said the newspaper, which didn't specify what laws Ai was suspected of breaking or confirm whether he had been detained.

Ai's disappearance comes as security services carry out a massive crackdown on lawyers, writers and activists following online calls for protests in China similar to those in the Middle East and North Africa. No public protests have emerged.