Chinese artist Ai Weiwei remained missing for a second day on Monday, after authorities grabbed him at the Beijing airport as he was headed out of the country to set up an exhibit, his associates said.
The artist, a well-known critic of the Chinese regime, has become the highest-profile person yet seized in the ongoing crackdown on dissent following China's failed calls for a Jasmine Revolution in February. Ai, perhaps best known for helping design Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium — the iconic focal point of the 2008 Olympics — has most recently been using Twitter to document a running tally of writers, lawyers and other dissenters who have been arrested or "disappeared" by Chinese state security in recent weeks.
Though Ai has been detained before, the airport detention coincided with what seemed to be a well-coordinated sweep of his home and studio on Sunday by police, who descended on the compound with search warrants. Several people arrested in this ongoing clampdown on dissenting voices have been charged with inciting state subversion, the crime that landed Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo an 11-year prison sentence in 2009.
French and German governments on Monday expressed concern for Ai and called for his release, according to media reports.