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LOS ANGELES — Chinese installation artist and activist Wu Yuren, who was arrested on questionable charges last year, has reported on Twitter that as of March 30 the charges have been dropped and that he has received his passport back. In November 2010 he was accused of assaulting police officers after he had accompanied a friend to file a complaint about a landlord.
In his tweets announcing the good news, he thanked friends and supporters from the past two years for helping him through his ordeal and expressed mistrust of China’s legal system. He also suggested that his arrest and Ai Weiwei’s detention last year was an act of revenge against the action he led on Chang An Blvd., a major thoroughfare in the hallowed center of the capital. He and a group of artists were protesting the impending demolition of their arts neighborhoods (which as of this past summer remain in ruins).
During his detention, Wu’s wife, Canadian Karen Patterson (who tweets as @KPfromCanada), advocated for his release, and Hyperallergic readers were encouraged to send Christmas cards to him while in prison as an act of support. Though he was released on parole last April (the same day, bizarrely, that Ai Weiwei was arrested), it was not clear at that time how the case against him would proceed. Under the conditions of his parole, he had to surrender his passport and remained “under supervision” of the court.
Wu, known affectionately as “Big Wu” amongst friends, said he had one thing to say about his ordeal: “Life in China is an adventure.“