Ai Weiwei Not Allowed to Use Twitter

06.24.11 Marina Galperina

Dissident artist Ai Weiwei has been released by the Chinese authorities after his 80-day detention on speculative “economic crime” charges, but don’t celebrate yet. He is not allowed to Tweet, talk to reporters or travel for one year. 

He hasn’t been released “on bail” — that’s a mistranslation. He was never even officially arrested. Whatever this is called, it’s illegal and in violation of United Nations law.

Ai has been complaint with the terms of his tentative release, suspiciously scheduled a day before Premier Wen Jiabao left for his diplomatic tour of Europe. Many of Ai’s colleagues, friends and family remain in custody and the Chinese authorities are arresting more. The Big Chill is on. Shutting up Ai’s popular Twitter stream means no more photos of Ai being unlawfully arrested or recovering after being beaten by the police and no more outspoken criticism. Think he’ll be making art any time soon?