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Biggest show by Ai Weiwei to open in Berlin without him

The biggest-ever exhibition by China's best known and boldest contemporary artist, Ai Weiwei, opens in Berlin Thursday with his signature brand of politically explosive works given pride of place. The show at Berlin's Martin Gropius Bau museum comes one week after a landmark state visit to Germany by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Its 18 rooms of mainly new installations pack a stinging critique of official corruption, political repression and capitalist excess in the world's most populous country.

China earthquake activist freed after five years

A Chinese activist who investigated whether shoddy construction caused the deaths of thousands of children when their schools collapsed in a 2008 earthquake was released Thursday after finishing a five-year jail term, his lawyer said. Writer and campaigner Tan Zuoren was heading home to Chengdu, the capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan, his lawyer Pu Zhiqiang told AFP by phone. "He was released today. Now he's on the way home," Pu said.

China earthquake activist freed after five years

A Chinese activist who investigated whether shoddy construction caused the deaths of thousands of children when their schools collapsed in a 2008 earthquake was released Thursday after finishing a five-year jail term, his lawyer said. Writer and campaigner Tan Zuoren was on his way home to Chengdu, the capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan, his lawyer Pu Zhiqiang told AFP by phone. "He was released today. Now he's on the way home," Pu said.

Ai Weiwei supporters pressure Berlin for passport's return

BERLIN (Reuters) - German supporters of Ai Weiwei, one of China's most famous political dissidents, urged Berlin on Wednesday to demand the return of the artist's passport before an exhibition of politically-charged works in Germany's capital. The exhibition, scheduled to open in Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau on April 3, falls exactly three years after Ai's arrest and detention by Chinese authorities in 2011.

Miami museum visitor accused of breaking $1 million Ai WeiWei vase

By Zachary Fagenson MIAMI (Reuters) - Miami police have arrested a man who they say smashed a $1 million vase by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei to protest that the city's newly opened museum is only displaying international art. Dominican-born Maximo Caminero, 51, was arrested and charged on Sunday charged with criminal mischief after picking up one of the 16 brightly painted vases at the Perez Art Museum Miami and throwing it to the ground when confronted by security, according to a police report.

Four more face China trial as dissident held

Four members of a high-profile Chinese rights movement were due to go on trial Monday, a day after its founder was sentenced to prison and a prominent dissident taken away by police, as a crackdown continues. The proceedings bring the total number of New Citizens Movement members tried on charges of disrupting public order to 10, seven of them since last Wednesday in Beijing.

Wife of China Nobel winner pleads for eased house arrest

The wife of China's jailed dissident Nobel peace laureate is pleading for authorities to ease the conditions of her house arrest, fellow activists said Tuesday, adding her mental state was "very bad". Liu Xia's husband Liu Xiaobo was jailed in 2009 for 11 years and won the international prize the next year, and she has been under strict surveillance at their flat in Beijing but has not been charged with any offence.

Wife of jailed Chinese Nobel peace laureate seeks help

Liu Xia, the wife of jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo who has been under house arrest in China, is seeking medical help and demanding her rights and freedom, according to her friend Zeng Jinyan Tuesday. Zeng, the wife of rights activist Hu Jia who advocates for Liu Xiaobo's release and is himself a victim of frequent police harassment, said in an open letter posted online that Liu Xia wants to consult a doctor freely, to exchange letters with her husband without them being intercepted and to work for an income to overcome economic hardship.

Ai Weiwei sends defiant message to China at Sweden film fest

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei sent a defiant message to the authorities in Beijing on Tuesday in an opening address to the Stockholm Film Festival where he is on the jury -- but in spirit only. The 56-year-old avant-garde artist, who is not allowed to leave China, is represented at the festival by an empty chair that he designed himself in an ironic reference to his inability to attend. "I feel sorry I can't come. That's why I have designed and sent something symbolic," he said in a pre-recorded video message broadcast at a press conference.

Ai Weiwei sends defiant message to China at Sweden film fest

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei sent a defiant message to the authorities in Beijing on Tuesday in an opening address to the Stockholm Film Festival where he is on the jury -- but in spirit only. The 56-year-old avant-garde artist, who is not allowed to leave China, is represented at the festival by an empty chair that he designed himself in an ironic reference to his inability to attend. "I feel sorry I can't come. That's why I have designed and sent something symbolic," he said in a pre-recorded video message broadcast at a press conference.
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