• Germany's news in English

Chinese artist gets emergency brain surgery in Munich

Kristen Allen · 16 Sep 2009, 17:04

Published: 16 Sep 2009 17:04 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

According Munich’s Haus der Kunst (House of German Art), where he has an exhibition coming up next month, the emergency operation was to repair damage to his brain sustained on August 12 during a police attempt to discourage his testimony in a Chengdu court.

“He is doing well and will remain in the hospital for the next few days, we’re not sure when he’s leaving yet,” Munich Municipal Hospital spokesperson Philip Kresserer told The Local on Wednesday.

The well-known artist has compiled the names of more than 5,000 school children killed in the Sichuan earthquake of May 2008 in his own investigation of alleged building corruption. He had planned to testify in favour of civil rights lawyer Tan Zuoren, who was on trial for beginning a similar investigation.

But at 3 am on the day he was to go to the court, he says some 20 armed officers broke into his hotel room and arrested him. While in custody, he was beaten.

A resulting head injury caused frequent headaches, and on Monday he sought the care of a doctor in Munich, Haus der Kunst press spokeswoman Sonia Szunke told The Local.

“They said he needed to be admitted to the hospital immediately,” she said.

Doctors operated on a haematoma on the right side of his skull.

“I feel much better,” the outspoken artist told news agency DPA on Wednesday morning. “I almost died, but everything is OK now.”

Ai said he had not received proper medical attention in China before coming to Germany for his exhibition, and German doctors said he had been close to falling into a coma.

“At least here I can get good medical care,” he told daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Thousands of fellow countrymen who are mistreated every year by police can’t get that.”

Story continues below…

Ai’s Haus der Kunst exhibition “So Sorry” begins October 12.

Ai is known in Germany for his work at Kassel’s Documenta 12 contemporary art festival in 2007. He also collaborated with architects Herzog & Demeuron to build the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

He is widely considered one of China’s most influential contemporary artists.

Related links:

Kristen Allen (kristen.allen@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd