【 CBC News 】   Post Date: 6/25/2012
Though Some Restrictions Lifted, Ai Weiwei Still Cannot Leave China
Author: AP Report
A year ago officials placed severe restrictions on Ai's travel, both domestic and international, upon his release from detention.  Ai is still not permitted to travel abroad, however.      
Dissident artist Ai Weiwei gained a bit of freedom Thursday when authorities said they would lift domestic travel restrictions imposed a year earlier, but he was still barred from leaving the country.
 
A notice from Beijing's Chaoyang District police headquarters that Ai received Thursday said his domestic travel restrictions will expire Friday, exactly a year after his release following nearly three months of detention. Ai, 55, had been the highest-profile target in a crackdown in spring 2011 to stop Chinese from imitating democratic uprisings in the Arab World. Despite the treatment, he remains an outspoken government critic.
 
Ai said police told him Thursday he cannot travel outside China because he remains under investigation on charges of pornography and illegal exchange of foreign currency, which Ai said are far-fetched.
 
Ai — known for his mocking, satirical art, was detained April 3, 2011 — at Beijing's airport. Following his release .on June 22 of that year, he was stripped of his passport and required to be constantly available for questioning. 
 
Ai told The Associated Press on Thursday that the police would return his passport only on the condition that he not travel abroad.
 
"I feel this is still an illegal practice," said Ai, who has plans to travel to Washington D.C. later this year for an art exhibit, as well as several other foreign cities.
 
"If I am not allowed to leave the country, I will have to cancel the trips, but I will make some efforts," Ai said.
 
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Key Words: Ai Weiwei, human rights China
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