Ginsberg had travelled to China and met with Ai's father, the noted poet Ai Qing, and consequently Ginsberg and Ai became friends.
When he was living in the East Village (from 1983 to 1993), Ai carried a camera with him all the time and would take pictures of his surroundings wherever he was.
A police contingent of approximately 50 officers came to his studio, threw a cordon around it and searched the premises.
They took away laptops and the hard drive from the main computer; along with Ai, police also detained eight staff members and Ai's wife, Lu Qing.
On 3 November 2010, Ai said the government had informed him two months earlier that the newly completed studio would be knocked down because it was illegal.In the end, the party took place without Ai's presence; his supporters feasted on river crab, an allusion to "harmony", and a euphemism used to jeer official censorship. Like other activists and intellectuals, Ai was prevented from leaving China in late 2010.Ai suggested that the authorities wanted to prevent him from attending the ceremony in December 2010 to award the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to fellow dissident Liu Xiaobo.Ai complained that this was unfair, as he was "the only one singled out to have my studio destroyed".The Guardian reported Ai saying Shanghai municipal authorities were "frustrated" by documentaries on subjects they considered sensitive: two of the better known ones featured Shanghai resident Feng Zhenghu, who lived in forced exile for three months in Narita Airport, Tokyo; another well-known documentary focused on Yang Jia, who murdered six Shanghai police officers.In 1958, the family was sent to a labour camp in Beidahuang, Heilongjiang, when Ai was one year old.