China’s Foreign Ministry Transcript Omits Mentions of Detained Artist Ai Weiwei

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BEIJING (AP).- China’s Foreign Ministry removed all references to a detained artist from its official transcript of a news conference given by its spokesman, in an apparent sign it wants to stifle discussion of the case. Ten of the 18 questions asked at the news conference Thursday concerned Ai Weiwei, a prominent artist and activist who was detained Sunday at Beijing’s international airport along with an assistant, Wen Tao. All 10 questions were omitted from the transcript posted Friday on the Foreign Ministry’s website. The ministry did not immediately respond to requests for an explanation. Ai is the most prominent target so far in China’s massive crackdown on dozens of lawyers, writers and activists following online calls for protests similar to those