Chinese dissident appointed to German arts academy

7th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, arrested last month in Beijing, has been appointed to the German Academy of Arts, the institution announced on Saturday.

The board elected to invite the artist to join the Academy following a meeting in Berlin, a statement said.

Beijing said this week that the rest of the world "should not comment" on Weiwei's detention. The 53-year-old was arrested in the city on April 3.

"Despite the official (Chinese) statement about an "economic crime", there is no doubt that his imprisonment relates to his human rights work," the Academy of Arts said.

Weiwei's arrest has attracted international criticism, particularly in Germany where he was due to travel.

He has already been appointed visiting professor of the Berlin University of Arts and according to the German press, Chancellor Angela Merkel has intervened in the matter with the Chinese government.

Washington, London, Paris and the European Union have also called for his release.

© 2011 AFP

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