Chinese Avant-Garde Artist Ai Weiwei Under House Arrest, Not Allowed to Travel to Shanghai

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BEIJING (AP).- Chinese avant-garde artist Ai Weiwei said Saturday that he has been placed under house arrest to prevent him from attending a party commemorating the forced demolition of his newly built studio in Shanghai. Ai, who has become known as much for his social activism as his art in recent years, was planning to fly to the Chinese financial hub for Sunday’s celebration, but people he suspects were police told him Friday that he would not be permitted to leave his Beijing home. Speaking by telephone, Ai said the men refused to identify themselves and it wasn’t clear who gave the order to detain him. On Sunday afternoon, three men in plainclothes were ensconced in a minivan with no license plates that was blocking the entrance to Ai’s home in an artists colony on the eastern edge of the city. “I’m under house