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Artist Ai Weiwei released on bail, Chinese police say

June 27, 2011

Police say they obtained confession over tax evasion charges from activist, who spent more than two months in detention

China has released world-famous artist and political activist Ai Weiwei after more than two and a half months of detention, state media has announced.
Beijing police said they released him on bail "because of his good attitude in confessing his crimes" and because he has a chronic illness, Xinhua news agency reported. No mention was made of his whereabouts.
Ai's detention on 3 April sparked an international outcry. He vanished after he was detained by police at Beijing airport.
Officials later said he was detained on suspicion of economic crimes, but police did not notify his family of detention.
The Xinhua report added: "The decision comes also in consideration of the fact that Ai has repeatedly said he is willing to pay the taxes he evaded, police said.
"The Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd, a company Ai controlled, was found to have evaded a huge amount of taxes and intentionally destroyed accounting documents, police said."
Ai's younger brother Ai Dan told the Guardian he had no information on his brother. The artist's wife and mother could not be reached immediately and Ai's phone remained switched off.
Earlier in the day, after a rumour that he might be released circulated on websites, his family said police had given them no information on Ai's case.
The article gave no details of what has happened to several friends and colleagues of Ai, who went missing shortly after him.

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