China Bans Ai Weiwei From Media, Internet
Rights activists criticize Beijing's conditions for release
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2011 5:28 AM CDT
Outspoken Chinese artist Ai Weiwei waves to reporters outside his studio in Beijing on June 23, 2011.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Chinese artist and provocateur Ai Weiwei may be out of jail, but that hardly means he's out of trouble, as authorities have banned Ai from traveling or talking publicly for a year, reports Reuters. It's effectively a gag on the talkative and media-savvy artist. "The key thing is these two conditions—the media and the Internet," said someone close to Ai's family. Ai can move around Beijing freely, but needs to check in if he plans on leaving the city.

As reporters thronged Ai's house, he briefly talked about getting a haircut, but otherwise refused to speak. "A strong government that is ruled by law cannot impose conditions like these on its citizens," said a human rights lawyer. "If there is indeed a criminal case, why isn't there a mention of it? Up until now, there hasn't been a notice of the case." Many analysts think that Ai's release signals a shift in policy from China's leadership, which had cracked down on dissent following the democratic uprisings that rocked the Middle East earlier this year.