Ai Weiwei, the rebel artist and acid critic of the Chinese Communist Party who was detained by the government last year, said Tuesday that the authorities were still holding his passport, which means he cannot travel to the United States for long-planned artistic events there next month or start a job as a visiting professor in Germany. Mr. Ai said in a telephone interview that he would be unable to attend the opening on Oct. 7 of the first survey of his work in North America. The exhibition is being prepared at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, one of the Smithsonian museums supported by the United States government. Mr. Ai said that he also expected to be forced to cancel an appearance at a literary festival in New York that promotes freedom of speech and that he would be unable to give talks at Harvard, Princeton and New York University.
China does itself in on the international stage once again. Too bad for all concerned.