ai weiwei gets his passport back
The Chinese artist might be free to travel for the first time since his 2011 arrest, and could be heading to London this year.
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei announced on Instagram this morning that he's been granted a new passport, intensifying rumors that he might be able to travel to his upcoming show at The Royal Academy in London. It follows a loosening of the Chinese authorities' grip on the renowned artist, who's been unable to leave the country for four years, as they've agreed to host an exhibition of his work in Beijing.
Speaking to The Guardian, Ai said "This was something that needed to be done, I was quite frustrated when my right to travel was taken away but now I feel much more positive about my condition. I think they should have given it back some time ago - and maybe after so many years they understand me better."
Ai is one of China's most well known artists and helped design the Olympic stadium for the 2008 games, though he has also been one of the regime's more vocal critics. He's taken to the internet to critique the government's social and economic policies and corruption, and he was arrested and detained for 81 days in 2011 -- ostensibly on charges of tax evasion -- but many assumed it was for his attacks on the ruling Chinese Communist Party.