Artist Ai Weiwei to be allowed return to China

Artist Ai Weiwei to be allowed return to China

Dissident artist Ai Weiwei has said that Chinese authorities returned his passport with almost no strings attached and promised him he can return to China.

Ai travelled to Munich, Germany, last week after having his passport returned, four years after it was confiscated, for a medical check-up and to see his young son.

In an interview with the Munich-based daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the dissident artist said Chinese authorities now have a more positive attitude towards him.

“They know that I want to make China into a better country, that I am concerned about the young generation,” he was quoted as saying.

“There is a basis of trust, otherwise they would not allow me, the former enemy of the state, my exhibitions; otherwise they would not have returned my passport.”

Asked under what conditions his passport was returned, he replied that “there were almost none”, without elaborating. “They promised that I could come back, which was very important to me. They said, ’you are a free person’.”

Ai said that an anti-corruption campaign by President Xi Jinping is creating “enormous tension”, with authorities keen not to lose control and intervening at the smallest sign of unrest, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported. But he added that “this campaign was really necessary”.

Ai also said that he has to be cautious and work with the situation – “that is much more difficult than vilifying opponents”.

He also said that he wants “not just to criticise but to offer solutions”. He did not detail his future plans.

Last week the UK Home Office apologised to Ai after initially refusing him a visa to travel to London for a landmark exhibition of his work. He was later issued a full six-month visa.


More in this Section

New Zealand national carrier suspends new bookings for flights into countryNew Zealand national carrier suspends new bookings for flights into country

Death toll from Japan floods rises to 50Death toll from Japan floods rises to 50

Estate agents respond better to buyers with certain accents, research suggestsEstate agents respond better to buyers with certain accents, research suggests

Woman charged after alleged racist confrontation in Central ParkWoman charged after alleged racist confrontation in Central Park


Lifestyle

Liz O’Brien talks to Niall Breslin about his admiration for frontline staff, bereavement in lockdown, his new podcast, and why it's so important for us all just to slow down.Niall Breslin talks about losing his uncle to coronavirus

Podcasts are often seen as a male domain — see the joke, 'What do you call two white men talking? A podcast'.Podcast corner: Three new podcasts from Irish women that you should listen to

Esther McCarthy previews some of the Fleadh’s Irish and international offerings.How to attend the Galway Film Fleadh from the comfort of your own couch

Whether you’re on staycation or risking a trip away, Marjorie Brennan offers suggestions on novels for a wide variety of tastesThe best fiction books for the beach and beyond this summer

More From The Irish Examiner