— That week, because I follow him on Twitter
and we often would write to each other on Twitter, I was seeing how the police started coming to his house. They came one day, and then a second night, and then the next morning, too, so they came a total of three times to check documents. Weiwei was posting the pictures of them visiting and said it seemed like they were really into checking the foreigners’ papers, but they were also checking the papers of workers, volunteers and people who lived there. And that did seem a little bit of a cause for concern, considering how many times they came. But Weiwei just discussed it on Twitter, he just followed what he always does and was very open about it.
We spoke after the PBS programme aired, and he was excited that people online seemed to really like it, and that they were sharing it. And I don’t know if he actually watched it, because I know when I talked to him he had said it was loading too slow, and I sent him a link that was easier to access with the Firewall. But then when the news came, because I’m so linked into his Twitter and that world, I knew within the first hour or two that he was taken at the airport, and I immediately called people at his studio on Skype and came home. I basically stayed up the first night until 5:00 am I think, just being on Twitter and taking calls from journalists on the ground in Beijing. Because of the funny way that information flows within China, sometimes someone outside can know a lot and can access things quicker. I spent the next several days with Skype on next to my head in bed, and got woken up in the middle of the night. I didn’t ever want to miss any news, or not to be there if someone wanted to say, ‘Hey I’m about to go in for questioning, just wanted to let you know,’ something like that. So it just felt like a nightmare, it just felt like you couldn’t believe it.
I don’t think any of us really expected it would come to twenty-seven days out like it is now. I think there was a feeling then that maybe there would be news any moment from him. But instead, the news was like, ‘Oh and this person has been taken in for questioning, and this person we haven’t heard from’. And no-one has heard from Weiwei since then, and still no official statement to his family even just acknowledging that they have him, or that there are any charges, officially, so still nothing. When you’re used to hearing from someone every day, even while I’ve been here doing post-production, it’s just a total one-eighty.