Senator Joe Lieberman issued the following statement on detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei:

The detention and "disappearance" on Sunday of Ai Weiwei, one of China’s most prominent artists, is profoundly concerning. It also fits squarely into a broader disturbing pattern of repression by Chinese authorities against dozens of human rights lawyers, journalists, and other members of civil society over the past two months. Numerous Chinese citizens like Mr. Ai have "vanished" into a legal limbo in recent weeks or have been held in extrajudicial detention, while others have been arrested and charged with "inciting subversion of state power." The Chinese government has also taken its longstanding restrictions on Internet freedom to absurd new lengths, including apparent disruptions to Gmail service and censorship of words such as "jasmine."

The Chinese government's crackdown on citizens exercising their universal human rights is inconsistent with its international commitments and represents a clear violation of the rule of law. At a moment when people across the Middle East are peacefully demanding fundamental freedoms and accountable self-government -- joining the democratic wave that has spread, over the past forty years, from Latin America to East Asia to Central Europe -- the Chinese government's repressive actions against its citizens seem both out of touch with the rest of the world and incompatible with the values that define global leadership in the 21st century.

I commend and thank the State Department's spokesman for calling for Mr. Ai's immediate release. I urge senior officials in the Obama Administration to repeat this call in the days ahead. I also hope the Administration will work with our allies and international partners to make clear to the Chinese government that Mr. Ai's release, and that of other Chinese citizens who have been unjustly detained, disappeared, arrested, and jailed, is a matter of serious international concern.

For more, read Kelley Currie's piece here.

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