Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on LinkedIn Share this on Sina Weibo Share this on Wechat Share this on LinkedIn Illustration by Luis Grañena Editor’s Note: Ai Weiwei, 64, is an artist and activist. His sculptures and installations have been viewed by millions around the globe, and his architectural achievements include helping to design the iconic Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing. His political activism, however, has long made him a target of Chinese authorities, and in 2011, he was detained for “inciting the subversion of state power.” He was held captive for 81 days and fined $2.4 million. After his passport was returned to him in 2015, he moved to Europe, where he has been living in exile since. What follows is an excerpt from his newly published memoir, 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows. On April 3, 2011, as I was about to fly out of Beijing’s Capital Airport, a swarm of plainclothes police descended on me, and for the next 81 days I disappeared into a black hole. My son had just turned 2 years old, and during my confinement I began to reflect on my own father, Ai Qing, who had himsSubscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.