Renowned satirical artist and Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei, who disappeared in early April and has been detained under shaky allusions to “economic crimes” by the Chinese government for over two months, has finally been released. After admitting to tax evasian, promising to pay fines, and showing a good attitude in detainment, the outspoken trailblazer is FREE AT LAST.
Free to move freely around Beijing, that is, as long as he notifies authorities every time he leaves the house.
Free, despite the fact that he can’t give interviews, make a peep on social media outlets (with 90k followers, Twitter was a major tool for Ai, who tweeted about disappearing activists, human rights violations, etc. prior to his detainment), or step outside of the city without permission. Though he cheerfully emerged to say hello to reporters and the International community this week, Ai has made it clear that he cannot speak publicly about his investigation or life situation, for “at least a year,” intimating a gag order that authorities won’t confirm.
An activist without a voice? That’s a prison unto itself. Let’s not pretend Ai Weiwei is free when he isn’t.
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