News / Asia

Ai Weiwei: Still Can't Leave China

Artist Ai Weiwei with notice from city's Chaoyang District police that restrictions would expire Friday, Beijing, June 21, 2012.
Artist Ai Weiwei with notice from city's Chaoyang District police that restrictions would expire Friday, Beijing, June 21, 2012.
VOA News
Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei says police have told him he is stilled barred from leaving the country, despite the expiration of a one-year bail imposed after his release from detention.

The outspoken artist was detained for nearly three months without charge last year. Upon his release, he was charged with tax evasion and told not to leave the capital, Beijing, for a year.

The 55-year-old said Thursday that police now appear to have lifted the domestic travel restrictions, but warned that he should not try to leave the country.

"The police told me that I am still under investigation, therefore I cannot leave China," he said. "I asked them when will the restrictions end, and they said they did not know. In my view, this is again another illegal measure."

The world-renowned artist told reporters he is now under investigation for several other crimes, including spreading pornography on the Internet.

Ai says police have again warned him not to speak to foreign media. He promptly defied the order, just as he did with a similar restriction placed on him when he was released last year.

Ai, an outspoken government critic whose work has been exhibited in the world's leading galleries, was arrested in April last year at the height of a government crackdown that came amid online calls for "Arab Spring-style" protests in China.

He was ordered to pay $2.4 million in back taxes and fines, which his supporters say is part of an effort to silence his activism. He received more than $1 million in donations from supporters who wanted to help with his bond.

On Wednesday, Ai was barred from attending a court hearing of a lawsuit filed by his company, Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd., to challenge the fine. The hearing ended without a clear verdict, but Ai told reporters that he is not optimistic about the final outcome.

Ai has slammed the government in the past about a number of scandals, including the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that killed scores of students studying in shoddily built schools and deadly fire in a Shanghai high-rise building in 2010.

The accusations of pornography appear to stem from a photo that surfaced on the Internet of the artist posing nude with four women. Ai, who is known for his mocking and satirical art, has rejected allegations that the photo was sexually charged, saying nudity is not always pornography.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs