Ai Weiwei is back on the Web

Posted filed underCensorship, China.

“Chinese artist Ai Wei-wei has broken his recent social media silence after his lengthy detention and interrogation, and joined Google+, the new social network from Google ,” writes

“In his first post on G+ this afternoon, at 1:44pm local time, Ai Wei-wei said simply, “Greetings. I’m here!” He was quickly greeted with over 3,400 people adding him to their circles, and over 100 comments on his first G+ missive.

Less than an hour later, Mr Ai posted a self-portrait photo to prove its authenticity. The number of established Chinese bloggers who are following him also proves it’s his genuine profile.

Ai Wei-wei has sneaked some cheeky humour into the ‘About’ section of his new G+ profile, describing himself as a “suspected pornography enthusiast and tax evader” – a reference to two of the many police charges leveled at him recently.

The outspoken artist had gone very quiet – even abandoning Twitter – since his two month-long police detention in April and May, on multiple charges of tax evasion and other things. Some disputed the authorities, and called the charges trumped up – a way of silencing the critique and satire in his art.

During his worryingly long absence, a lot of international support was shown for Mr Ai, including a screening of an interview of his at TED.

Google Plus has been mostly inaccessible from inside China since its launch, when it began to get DNS throttled by the Great Firewall.

If you’d like to add the artist to one of your own G+ circles, you can find him here.”