Artist Presses China on Child Quake Victims

A year after disaster, Ai Weiwei leads efforts to account for the dead
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2009 8:42 AM CDT
Artist Presses China on Child Quake Victims
A Chinese girl burns paper offerings for departed spirits in Beichuan, in southwestern China's Sichuan province, today.   (AP Photo)

China today marked one year since the Sichuan earthquake that left nearly 90,000 people dead or missing. But the government has still not published results of an investigation, and parents whose children died in shoddily constructed schools have faced police intimidation. The parents have found an unlikely advocate, Time reports: Ai Weiwei, a star artist who has relentlessly pressed for information.

Ai is most famous for co-designing the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing, but he has also blogged extensively about the quake. Last week, the government published an estimate that 5,335 children were killed, which was widely viewed as a victory for Ai’s uncommonly outspoken campaign. The artist thinks that figure is low, though, and vows to continue until “we find the last name, or I am dead.” (Read more China stories.)

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