Ai Weiwei is a Chinese contemporary artist and activist. Ai grew up in the far north-west of China, where he lived under harsh conditions due to his father’s exile. As an activist, he has been openly critical of the Chinese Government’s stance on democracy and human rights. He investigated government corruption and cover-ups, notably the Sichuan schools corruption scandal following the collapse of “tofu-dreg schools” in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. On April 3, 2011, Ai Weiwei was arrested at Beijing Capital International Airport for “economic crimes”. He was detained for 81 days without charge. After being allowed to leave China in 2015, he has lived in Berlin, Germany, and, since 2019, in Cambridge, UK and Portugal with his family, working and traveling internationally.
A Thousand Years of Joys and Sorrows: A Memoir is one of the most anticipated books of the century and was published on November 2, 2021.