Outspoken Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, the subject of Alison Klayman’s Sundance award-winning documentary “Ai Weiwei: Never Speak,” has not been able to travel outside of his native country to support the film due strict bail conditions imposed by the Chinese government a year before, as punishment for speaking out against said government. Despite the bail being lifted today, Reuters reports that Weiwei still remains barred from traveling, and could now face bigamy and pornography charges.
“This is not the news we had hoped for,” Klayman said in a statement. “Ai Weiwei’s extended travel ban and the continued threat of various unsubstantiated charges against him are simply prolonging the state of limbo that he has been in since his detention. It shows the authorities are not ready to let Ai Weiwei live as he did during the years that ‘Never Sorry’ was filmed. Yet he is clearly not deterred. He continues to inspire all of us to use creativity and courage to express ourselves and bring about the change we want to see in the world.”
Timed to the bail lift, Weiwei contributed an Op-Ed piece for The Guardian in which he condemned “China’s monstrous machine.” “I have no sense of why I lost my freedom,” he wrote, “and if you don’t know how you lost something, how can you protect it?.”
The Sundance Selects release opens in select theaters July 27. Watch the trailer below: