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

    Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Video Canine Reading Buddies Help Students With Literacy

    Idea behind reading program is that sharing book with nonjudgmental companion boosts students' confidence and helps instill love of reading

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora