Chinese artist Ai Weiwei his  son Ai Lao at Munich airport: the activist has said  that his homeland must become a democratic society. Photograph: Matthias Schrader/AP

Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has warned that his homeland will “explode” unless the communist regime allows managed transition to democracy. (...)

 Chinese artist and critic of the regime Ai Weiwei  at Munich Airport. Photograph: EPA/Peter Kneffel

British home secretary Theresa May has intervened to reverse a decision by her officials and grant dissident Chinese artist and free speech advocate A(...)

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who said on Thursday that Britain had denied his application for a six-month visa in favour of one with a shorter duration. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters

Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei said on Thursday that Britain had denied his application for a six-month visa in favour of one with a shorter durat(...)

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei poses with his passport in Beijing. He should now be able to attend a retrospective of his work at London’s Royal Academy of Art in September. Photograph: Ai Weiwei/Reuters

Chinese dissident artist and free speech advocate Ai Weiwei said that authorities in Beijing returned his passport on Wednesday, more than four years (...)

Art and politics: Sean Scully. Photograph courtsey of Sean Scully Studio, New York

Sean Scully is what some people might call a man’s man. This year the artist will celebrate his 70th birthday. He’s tall, lean and broad-shouldered, w(...)

Enjoy a classic Beijing specialty at Duck de Chine.  Photograph: Adam Dean/The New York Times
Weekend in . . . Beijing
  • Travel
  • March 21, 2015, 01:30

It seems like only yesterday that Beijing had its much-ballyhooed “coming out” party – the 2008 Summer Olympics – but things don’t slow down much i(...)

Protesters hold a picture of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in Hong Kong on Christmas Day, 2009, after a Chinese court had handed down an 11-year sentence on subversion charges after he had called for sweeping political reforms. The Nobel Peace Prize winner remains in prison. Photograph: Kin Cheung/AP

When President Michael D Higgins shakes the hand of his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Beijing next week, the two leaders will have much in commo(...)

Dog days: from Ciarán Healy’s DIT series The Familiar Wolf

Who would want to study to be a visual artist these days? To gain an academic qualification you work for an indefinite number of years before emerging(...)

Toronto, Canada is a city of contrasts. Photographs: Ian Willms
Oh Toronto
  • Travel
  • March 15, 2014, 01:00

When I tell my friends in Toronto how much I love their city, they often say, “Really?” I always assume they imagine I’m just trying to be grac(...)

 A handout picture released by the Perez Art Museum shows the installation by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. A local artist picked up one of the vases, allegedly worth $1million  and smashed it on the floor. Photograph:  EPA/Daniel Azoulay/ Perez Art Museum Miami.

Officials at Perez Art Museum in Miami have confirmed that a valuable vase by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei was destroyed by a visitor in (...)