Nearly a month after famed Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei was released from government detention, he’s finally broken his silence—on Google+.
It was a short message that Ai first posted in Chinese, announcing, “Greetings, I am here.” It was the first public message Ai has sent since he was released from three months of detention on June 22. Google+, unsurprisingly, has been blocked in China since it debuted, most likely due to fears of encouraging uprisings similar to the ones in Egypt and Tunisia.
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There is not much on his profile, but “there are signs of life,” which he subsequently posted. Still, the irony of his detention has not been lost on Ai: He calls himself a suspected tax evader, pornographer, and plagiarizer in his bio. Since he’s created his profile, he has amassed over 11,000 followers.
A loud and outspoken critic of the Chinese government, Ai has remained conspicuously quiet since his release. He was initially arrested for tax evasion on April 3 while attempting to board a flight to Hong Kong. He’s been charged with nearly $2 million in fines by the government, and his terms of bail have reportedly barred him from any media interviews.
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Amongst his many causes, Ai also supported the 2008 Sichuan earthquake investigation where thousands of Chinese schoolchildren perished. Ai is best known for serving as the artistic consultant for Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium and being one of the Chinese government’s most vocal critics.
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