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Ai Weiwei shared on Instagram that he has finally been given his passport back. This marks the end of a four year ban on the artist's foreign travel imposed by the Chinese government.
The artist first had his passport revoked when the Chinese government arrested him and placed him under house arrest for 81 days in 2011. Authorities cited tax evasion as the reason for his arrest, but it is widely assumed that the artist was detained for constantly speaking out against the Chinese communist regime.
Weiwei's newfound freedom comes as a surprise, even to him. "I have no idea why," Weiwei told The Guardian. "This is not something I can say." However, he remains upbeat despite the amount of time it took for him to get his passport back. "I feel pleased," he said. "This was something that needed to be done... I think they should have given it back some time ago and maybe after so many years they understand me better."
The artist's first trip will be to Germany to see his six-year-old son who started living there last year.