Art

Salman Rushdie: Free Ai Weiwei

Americans often deride writers or artists for their politics. “But outside the free world, where criticism of power is at best difficult and at worst all but impossible, creative figures like Mr. Ai and his colleagues are often the only ones with the courage to speak truth against the lies of tyrants,” Salman Rushdie writes an op-ed about the plight of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Ai’s art was not polemical, but he used his prominence to advocate for human rights. Now, the latest reports have him starting to confess the “crimes” for which China imprisoned him—tax evasion, pornography. “The lives of artists are more fragile than their creations,” Rushdie writes. “It is the world’s artists, particularly those courageous enough to stand up against authoritarianism, for whom we need to be concerned, and for whose safety we must fight.”