Ai Weiwei’s spokesperson has announced that the Chinese artist and free speech activist has been given a three-year German visa, and will be taking up a professorship at Berlin’s University of the Arts. Ai posted a photo of the visa, which expires in October 2018, on his Instagram account. His partner and son have been living in Berlin for almost a year. This past July, Chinese officials unexpectedly returned Ai’s passport, which they had seized four years ago after detaining him for 81 days.
A Reuters article notes that “Ai has praised Berlin as a creative sanctuary that reminds him of New York in the 1980s and 1990s when he lived there.”
In August, Ai told the same outlet that the Chinese economy had reached a critical low that could only be rectified by increasing democratic freedom, a direction that the Communist government was “openly refusing to go in.”