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— by Andrea K. Scott: On July 11th, the Art Newspaper reported that scores of Chinese police in riot gear had descended on Roma Lake, a budding art district near the Beijing airport, and forced artists out of their studios. Several days earlier, the police had also removed hundreds of people from Huantie, a more established creative community in a former factory complex. According to the hastily posted eviction notices, which named artists as “security problems” and “unstable factors,” the official reason for these raids is the government’s ongoing crusade against organized crime. This mafia-crackdown angle is new, but the harassment of China’s artists—evictions, arrests, studio demolitions—is a dispiritingly familiar story. Even the country’s most famous cultural figure isn’t immune. Last summer, the government bulldozed Ai Weiwei’s studio in Caochangdi, the thriving Beijing art sector that he pioneered…

Image: “1995 No. 8.1” (Zhang Huan, “Metal Case”), 1995. Photograph by RongRong, courtesy of The Walther Collection and Steidl

July 25, 2019