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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid