The good news is that Ai Weiwei is free. The bad news is that he really isn’t.
The good news is that a lot of the reason why he was let out of jail was international pressure. The bad news is that there are at least 130 civil rights activists still held in China with no seeming opportunity to be let out of jail.
The good news is that the movement identity I wrote about in my post last month, Who’s Afraid of Ai Weiwei? , helped build the groundswell of international support that pressured the Chinese government to release Weiwei from custody. The bad news is that it remains to be seen whether the movement I wrote about will be able to build a push for releasing the others.
The limits that have been placed on Ai Weiwei upon his “release” are quite huge – in spirit if not confinement. While the full restrictions of his “freedom on bail” are not known. He cannot leave his home city for a year without letting the authorities know. He cannot participate in interviews and it is assumed he will not be able to present art or feed his twitter followers with daily messages as he did before he was detained.
Now is the true test of how strong that WHO IS AI WEIWEI movement really is. My hope is that it doesn’t stop with his
release, but becomes a lot bigger and forces change in a country that is doing everything it can to do anything but, when it comes to human rights.
My hope, also, is that he and others acting out for human right in China finally does find a freedom. Let’s all hope this movement and identity form a stronghold that brings along change.