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Ai Weiwei

Timeline: Ai Weiwei’s life story

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 September, 2012, 3:16pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 September, 2012, 4:19pm

 

1957:

Ai Weiwei is born in Beijing. His parents are the well-known poet Ai Qing and writer Gao Ying. 

 

1958:

Ai’s family is exiled to Xinjiang during the Cultural Revolution.

 

1975:

They return to Beijing after 16 years.

 

1978:

Ai enrols in the Beijing Film Academy. Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige, who later become China’s most famous film directors, are his classmates.

 

1981:

At age 24, Ai leaves China for America with the help of a girlfriend who has relatives there. He lives mostly in New York.

 

1993:

He returns to Beijing to look after his sick father.

 

1997:

He helps establish the Modern Chinese Art Foundation

 

2003:

He co-designs the Olympic Stadium, nicknamed the Bird’s Nest, for the 2008 Beijing Games. His name becomes more widely known in the international art scene. 

 

2008:

He receives a lifetime achievement award at the Chinese Contemporary Art Awards 2008 Exhibition.

Ai demands that the government conduct a public investigation of the 8.0-magnitude Sichuan earthquake, which kills 5,000 schoolchildren and nearly 70,000 people that year. 

 

April 2011:

He is stopped at the Beijing airport and is detained for “economic crimes”, authorities said.

 

June 2011:

He is released on bail after 81 days of detention. Police say Ai “admits to tax evasion”. 

 

October 2011:

Ai is honoured as the most powerful art figure by ArtReview at its 10th annual “Power 100” event.

 

November 2011:

About 2,500 of his supporters volunteer to lend him 871,000 yuan (HK$10.7 million) to pay for tax bill and fines worth 15.22 million yuan.

 

 

September 2012

Ai’s appeal for a US$2.4 million tax evasion fine was turned down by a district court in Beijing.

 

 

Sources: SCMP, the Guardian, BBC, Sydney Morning Herald
 

 

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