Ai Weiwei, the Chinese art-provocateur whose work so very consistently pisses off the Chinese government, says he was given back his passport this week after being barred from traveling abroad since he was detained in 2011 in Beijing.
"Today, I received a passport," he told the world via Twitter and Instagram, attaching a selfie with the document.
Mr. Ai, who was a design consultant on the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing and exhibited his sculptural installation "Sunflower Seeds" at the Tate Modern in London, was detained in 2011 while trying to fly to Hong Kong from Beijing. He was held and interrogated for 81 days and later prosecuted on a charge of tax evasion. A court ruled against him and said his studio owed $2.4 million in penalties and back taxes.
He has said the case against him was retaliation for his political activism, including his memorializing the thousands of children who died in schools that collapsed during a 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province.
Ai Weiwei, Chinese Artist and Provocateur, Is Given Back His Passport [nytimes]
— 艾未未 Ai Weiwei (@aiww) July 22, 2015