Dissident Artist

Ai Weiwei on China's Lost Generations

Ai Weiwei Prenzlauer Berg DPA
Ai Weiwei at his studio in Berlin.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has sought to draw attention to life in China, and has come to Germany after being barred from traveling since 2011.

  • Facts


    • Ai Weiwei, sculptor, curator and activist, is one of China’s most famous artists but has been persecuted for his research into corruption.
    • For his film “Never Sorry,” Mr. Ai won the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Festival in 2012.
    • Mr. Ai was among the designers of the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing.
  • Audio


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China’s most famous artist and activist Ai Weiwei has arrived in Berlin – but he’s not planning to produce any art just yet.

An artist who investigated the Chinese government for corruption and drew attention to its human rights record, Mr. Ai had been accused of economic crimes and imprisoned for 81 days.

Mr. Ai was able to leave China in late July when the authorities returned his passport, which had been confiscated back in 2011. He flew to Germany on July 22 to join his partner and son who is attending school in Berlin.

In an interview with Berlin’s Tagesspiegel newspaper [in full below], he talked of his frustration and fear but also his sense of connection to China.

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