Breaking News -- in a bizarre turn of events, artist and activist Ai Weiwei is under house arrest in Beijing after unnamed powerful Shanghai figures made the order.
They caught wind of his plans to have a huge party tomorrow to celebrate his newly-built Shanghai studio being demolished with rock bands and some 1,000 supporters. Ai had provoked the authorities by saying they would eat lots of river crabs, a euphemism for "harmonious", mocking Chinese President Hu Jintao's "harmonious society".
At first Shanghai officials asked Ai to establish a multi-million dollar studio, but after it was completed the officials had an about face and decided it had to be demolished because of his "activities".
Ai was planning to fly to Shanghai to prepare for the upcoming party when they apparently reluctantly placed him under house arrest today.
"They're sorry, very sorry," he said by telephone from his home. "They say they understand me and really agree, but this is really beyond what they can do."
Now that word is out that Ai is under house arrest, there's going to be international condemnation of what is an illegal act. No charges have been laid, only some senior officials who are scared of what could have happened tomorrow.
And this will only prove once again that China is not a responsible power, that is violates the rights of its own citizens purely out of paranoia. Any kind of dissent worries the government at any level and it will react at any cost to preserve its power, even if it goes above its own laws to do so.
So while Ai is under house arrest, the government is also asking European governments to boycott the Nobel Prize ceremony and avoid talking about Liu Xiabo.
How can you ask other countries not to attend such a prestigious event?
China is acting like a spoiled child that is kicking up a fuss when it doesn't get what it wants.
It thinks it can throw its weight around with its economic might. But really it's only a paper tiger until it can prove it takes the higher road instead of petty behaviour.