Chinese artist Ai Weiwei got his passport back on Wednesday, four years after authorities in the communist country had confiscated it, and the gadfly government critic will travel to Germany for treatment for injuries suffered at the hands of police, his mother said.
“He got it! He will go to Germany shortly for several reasons," said Gao Ying, Ai's mother.
"The first is he needs to go there for his ailments. His head was hit by police several years ago and he was injured," she told RFA's Cantonese Service.
"He had surgery in Germany, but he now has headaches all the time," Gao added.
Gao told RFA that Ai, who has a son living in Germany, also will travel there because he "misses his son and wants to go to see him.”
Asked if Ai could be barred from overseas travel amid a relentless government crackdown on dissenters and rights defenders, Gao said she saw no reason why the government would not let him travel.
“He should not have any problem. He has total freedom," she said.
Ai, 57, was detained for about three months in 2011 but not charged, although authorities later hit his firm with a $2.4 million tax bill.
He ran afoul of authorities for outspoken commentary on government scandals, including shoddy school construction and corruption that contributed to the deaths of thousands of students in a massive earthquake in Sichuan Province in 2008.
Reported by Ka Pa and Wei Ling for RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated by Shiny Li. Written in English by Paul Eckert.