Ai Weiwei says China authorities raze his Beijing studio

FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2017, file photo, Chinese activist artist Ai Weiwei listens to a question from the audience as one of his "Good Fences Make Good Neighbors" installations is presented, in New York's Central Park. Ai says authorities have begun razing his Beijing studio. The frequent government critic says on his Instagram account the demolition began Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, without prior notice and posted videos of an excavator smashing the windows of his "Zuoyou" studio. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

BEIJING — Chinese artist Ai Weiwei says authorities have begun razing his Beijing studio.

The frequent government critic says on his Instagram account the demolition began Friday without prior notice and posted videos of an excavator smashing the windows of his "Zuoyou" studio.

The studio in the northeast Beijing suburbs has been Ai's primary work space since 2006, although his has mostly been based in Europe in recent years.

It's unclear whether the demolition is targeting Ai. Beijing authorities have demolished large swaths of the suburbs in the past year in a building safety campaign, typically giving at least several days' notice.

Ai, who has called attention to human rights violations and government corruption in China, was held for more than two months in 2011 on alleged tax evasion.

Must Read

Hong Kong election highlights rising anti-China mood

Sep 4, 2016

Polls opened in Hong Kong Sunday for the specially administered Chinese city's most crucial...

Obama and Putin meet in China amid struggle for Syria deal

Sep 5, 2016

US, Russia struggle to keep alive negotiations to end the bloodshed between U.S.-backed rebels

Merkel appeals to Russia to enable Syria cease-fire

Sep 5, 2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is renewing an appeal to Russia to enable a cease-fire in Syria and...

Asian stocks rise after Wall Street gains

Dec 21, 2016

Asian stocks are higher after U.S. stocks rose to record levels despite attacks in Germany and...

China's 1st aircraft carrier heads for Western Pacific

Dec 25, 2016

China's Defense Ministry says the country's first aircraft carrier has set off for the Western...