08/29/2011 02:15 pm ET Updated Oct 29, 2011

Dissident Chinese Artist Calls Life In Beijing 'a Constant Nightmare'

In an angry, despairing essay for Newsweek, Ai Weiwei, a prominent Chinese artist and dissident who was released from detention two months ago, described life in the Chinese capital as a Kafkaesque “nightmare.”

Mr. Ai, who still faces charges the Chinese authorities claim are related to tax evasion, not his outspoken criticism of the government, was arrested in April and held for three months. As Evan Osnos explained in a New Yorker blog post, Mr. Ai’s experience in prison does sound like something from Kafka — or from a documentary about Bradley Manning: