China Releases Artist From House Arrest

Chinese authorities have released an artist who was kept under house arrest in Beijing to prevent him from attending a party marking the forced demolition of his Shanghai art studio.Ai Weiwei, who helped design the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, organized a party in the studio Sunday to protest the demolition order, which he believes was related to his social activism.Hundreds of Ai’s supporters gathered at the studio while the artist was being held more than 1,000 kilometers away in the Chinese capital.After his release Sunday, Ai said that times have changed in China, and that more people now have the courage to voice their own opinions.
Ai said he was under surveillance for more than 50 hours while under house arrest, but that modern technology had enabled him to interact with everyone who attended the party.Ai says the government invited him to build the art studio in Shanghai and that he spent $1 million to do so.He says he was not give a reason why authorities ordered it demolished. But he says the order came after he wrote on the Internet about the revenge killing of six city police officers by a man who allegedly had been tortured.Ai also wrote about a Shanghai activist who camped out at Tokyo’s international airport for nearly three months after Chinese officials barred him from returning home.Ai was allowed to go to Munich last year for a major exhibit criticizing the government’s response to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. But months before, he was severely beaten by police in Chengdu where he had gone to testify in a trial of a fellow activistChinese authorities have released an artist who was kept under house arrest in Beijing to prevent him from attending a party marking the forced demolition of his Shanghai art studio.Ai Weiwei, who helped design the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, organized a party in the studio Sunday to protest the demolition order, which he believes was related to his social activism.Hundreds of Ai’s supporters gathered at the studio while the artist was being held more than 1,000 kilometers away in the Chinese capital.After his release Sunday, Ai said that times have changed in China, and that more people now have the courage to voice their own opinions.

Ai said he was under surveillance for more than 50 hours while under house arrest, but that modern technology had enabled him to interact with everyone who attended the party.Ai says the government invited him to build the art studio in Shanghai and that he spent $1 million to do so.He says he was not give a reason why authorities ordered it demolished. But he says the order came after he wrote on the Internet about the revenge killing of six city police officers by a man who allegedly had been tortured.Ai also wrote about a Shanghai activist who camped out at Tokyo’s international airport for nearly three months after Chinese officials barred him from returning home.Ai was allowed to go to Munich last year for a major exhibit criticizing the government’s response to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. But months before, he was severely beaten by police in Chengdu where he had gone to testify in a trial of a fellow activist – Voanews