China's Ai Weiwei blacked out after self-surveillance experiment
April 5, 2012 -- Updated 0306 GMT (1106 HKT)
- Dissident artist Ai Weiwei set up four cameras at his home in Beijing
- Ai: "Website has just been shut down by order of public security"
- He was arrested and charged with tax evasion last year
- His family and rights groups say the charges are politically motivated
Hong Kong (CNN) -- It was intended as a nod to the constant surveillance he finds himself under since being released by Chinese authorities last year.
Dissident artist Ai Weiwei set up four cameras at his home in Beijing over his computer, bed and courtyard to broadcast a 24-hour live feed at a website he set up called weiweicam.com.
But soon after the cameras went live he was blacked out. His website displayed a blank screen.
Ai Weiwei turns camera on himself
"The website has just been shut down by order of public security," Ai told CNN late Wednesday.
Ai Weiwei rises: Art and activism online
The 54-year old, who helped design the iconic Bird's Nest Olympic stadium in Beijing, has endured a difficult relationship with Chinese authorities. Last year he was detained for 81 days and ordered to pay 15 million yuan ($2.38 million) in back taxes officials said he owed through his company, Fake Cultural Development Ltd.
He paid 8.45 million yuan ($1.3 million) late last year so he could contest the charges. Had he not paid the sum, he said at the time, his wife would have been jailed.
Ai's family and human rights advocates have said they believe the Chinese government is targeting him for his criticism of the regime.
An internationally renowned artist, Ai's works -- often with political undercurrents -- command hundreds of thousands of dollars. His 2010 installation at the Tate Modern in London involved 100 million porcelain sunflower seeds, each one hand-painted by specialists in China, spread on the floor of the museum's large entrance hall.
CNN's Judy Kwon contributed to this report.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0857 GMT (1657 HKT)
Over 200 Chinese villagers in Sichuan province have signed a petition to banish a HIV-positive eight-year-old boy, state media reported.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
A Chinese couple allegedly threw hot water on a flight attendant and threatened to blow up the plane, forcing the Nanjing-bound plane to turn back to Bangkok.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 0503 GMT (1303 HKT)
China's 1.3 billion citizens may soon find it much harder to belt out their national anthem at will.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 0021 GMT (0821 HKT)
Like Beijing today, Los Angeles in the last century went through its own smog crisis. The city's mayor says LA's experience delivers valuable lessons.
December 6, 2014 -- Updated 0542 GMT (1342 HKT)
At the height of his power, Zhou Yongkang controlled China's police, spy agencies and courts. Now, he's under arrest.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 0826 GMT (1626 HKT)
China says it will end organ transplants from executed prisoners but tradition means that donors are unlikely to make up the shortfall.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 0648 GMT (1448 HKT)
China's skylines could look a lot more uniform in the years to come, if a statement by a top Beijing official is to believed.
December 3, 2014 -- Updated 0855 GMT (1655 HKT)
Despite an anti-corruption drive, China's position on an international corruption index has deteriorated in the past 12 months.
November 26, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
A daring cross-border raid by one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's associates has -- so far -- yet to sour Sino-Russian relations.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0051 GMT (0851 HKT)
A 24-hour Taipei bookstore is a hangout for hipsters as well as bookworms.
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 0153 GMT (0953 HKT)
China is building an island in the South China Sea that could accommodate an airstrip, according to IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1057 GMT (1857 HKT)
North Korean refugees face a daunting journey to reach asylum in South Korea, with gangs of smugglers the only option.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and "probably one or two other" countries have the capacity to shut down the nation's power grid and other critical infrastructure.