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Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was supposed to keep silent as a condition of his release from jail. But now he's breaking that silence, posting messages on Twitter discussing his detention--and pledging support for a fellow activist.
After an absence of four months, outspoken Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is back on Twitter.
Ai was taken into custody on April 3rd, and for two and a half months his whereabouts were unknown. Then after his release on June 22nd, Ai was forbidden from talking to the media—a condition of his bail.
Not long after, Ai broke his silence with a post on Google Plus on July 25th, later on August 5th he was back on Twitter with a simple post saying 'greetings.'
Then on August 8th Ai went a step further and started tweeting about his detention and the detention of other activists.
Mainland rights activist Zhao Lianhai, who was put in prison for campaigning for victims of the 2008 poison milk scandal, says it's no surprise to see Ai back online.
[Zhao Lianhai, Mainland Chinese Rights Activist]:
"Actually I expected Ai Weiwei to speak out at this time. Previously Ai maintained his silence. First of all, from my own point of view, I understand why, and secondly, it reflects the current situation of the Chinese authorities suppression of dissidents and rights activists."
Chinese state-run newspaper The Global Times published an interview with Ai Weiwei on August 9th, confirming he was banned from Twitter. Yet Ai's answers to questions in the interview were surprisingly in accordance with the "party line." It seems that after the interview, the artist couldn't resist speaking his mind on the Internet.
On August 8th, probably the day of the Global Times interview, Ai tweeted about meeting one of his associates Liu Zhenggang who was also detained.