Chinese artist and outspoken political activist Ai Weiwei has a big fan in pop star Elton John.
In a controversial move, John openly dedicated his two-hour Beijing concert Sunday night "to the spirit and talent of Ai Weiwei," he told the audience at the start of the show. To that, audible shock rumbled throughout the crowd, which typically lives in fear of artistic censorship and the government’s tight control of live performances -- officials require performers to submit song set lists for approval before shows.
Ai attended John’s concert, and even met the performer before the show, the Associated Press reported. “I super like him, although we only spent ten minutes together,” he later posted on his Twitter feed – which is banned in China but has more than 180,000 followers.
The day after the concert, mainstream mainland media reported on the show; but they did not mention John’s public support for Ai.