|Artist Ai Weiwei Free After Confessing to Tax Evasion Says Chinese Official Media|
In this Jan. 21, 2010 photo, artist Ai Weiwei speaks during an interview at his studio in Beijing, China. Chinese state media say renowned activist artist Ai Weiwei has been released on bail after confessing to tax evasion. The Xinhua News Agency says Ai's poor health was also a factor in his release Wednesday, June 22, 2011. AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan.
By: Christopher Bodeen, Associated Press
BEIJING (AP).- Renowned artist Ai Weiwei, among the most prominent activists detained in China's sweeping recent crackdown on dissent, was released on bail Wednesday after confessing to tax evasion, official media said.
Ai's release after nearly three months' detention was not directly confirmed by him or his immediate family. Calls to Ai's mobile phone rang unanswered, however a question sent to him by text message received a two-line reply: "Yes. Free."
The Xinhua News Agency said late Wednesday that Ai's poor health was also a factor in his release. The brief report said Ai had shown a "good attitude in confessing his crimes" and repeatedly pledged to pay taxes he owed.
Xinhua repeated earlier allegations in state media that a company linked to Ai, Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd., had evaded a "huge amount" of taxes and intentionally destroyed accounting documents.
Formal charges against him have never been announced, and the state media report did not mention any pending charges or trial.
Ai's sister Gao Ge, said she had not heard anything from authorities and would wait at their mother's house for further word. The mobile phone of Ai's wife, Lu Qing, who visited him in detention on May 15, was switched off. Other acquaintances were also unavailable or had no information beyond the brief Xinhua report.
Alison Klayman, an American filmmaker who has been working on a documentary about Ai, said she had no independent confirmation but was hopeful Ai had been freed.
"I'm hopeful that this is a good sign," said Klayman by telephone from the United States.
Ai's family and supporters have previously dismissed the tax evasion accusations, and Lu said the company in question is registered and belongs to her, not him. The company handles the business aspects of Ai's art career.
Ai is among China's most internationally known artists and had a hand in designing Beijing's iconic Bird's Nest Olympic stadium before souring on the event. His fame has soared in recent years, both for his groundbreaking art and his bold irreverence toward authority.
Ai's detention at Beijing's airport on April 3 made him the most famous victim of a sweeping crackdown against dissent in China that began in February when online calls for protests similar to those in the Middle East and North Africa began to circulate. Hundreds of Chinese lawyers, activists, and other intellectuals have disappeared or been questioned or detained by authorities in the clampdown.
Ai had been keeping an informal tally of the detentions on Twitter.
Ai was held under a form of detention known as residential surveillance somewhere outside Beijing. Lu, his wife, was permitted one brief, monitored meeting in which she said he seemed well cared for and was not being held in a formal jail.
Ai suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes. He told Lu during her May visit that he was taking long walks everyday, had his blood pressure checked seven times a day, and was eating and sleeping well.
Ai's detention prompted an international outcry among artists, politicians and human rights activists, and Western leaders called it a sign of China's deteriorating human rights situation. His family and supporters said he was being punished for speaking out about the Communist leadership and social problems.
Ai has also spoken critically about a number of national scandals, including the deaths of students in shoddily built schools that collapsed during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, children killed or sickened by tainted infant formula and a deadly high-rise fire in Shanghai that killed 58 and was blamed on negligent workers and corrupt inspectors.
Associated Press reporter Isolda Morillo contributed to this report.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.
June 22, 2011
Pablo Picasso Lovers Win Hearts at Christie's Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale
A Crusader Town Emerges Under an Old Israeli Port, Workers Prepare to Open It to the Public
Artist Ai Weiwei Free After Confessing to Tax Evasion Says Chinese Official Media
New Study Says Image of Ancient Mammoth or Mastodon Found on Bone
Macedonia Erects Alexander the Great Statue, Further Inflaming Long-Running Row with Greece
Rare 16th Century Helmet Used by Opera House as a Stage Prop for Sale at Bonhams
Iron Age Gold Hoard, The Wickham Market Hoard, Saved for Ipswich Museum
Original Emancipation Proclamation Displayed at The Henry Ford Museum in Michigan
Recently Discovered Masterpiece of Islamic Art to Go on View at the Pergamon Museum
Research Shows One of Vincent van Gogh's Self-Portraits is in Fact His Brother Theo
The Autry Surveys the Significance of Bonanza by Displaying Iconic Ponderosa Map
Urban Scrawl: Graffiti and Street Art in Special Sale Presented by artnet Auctions
Brooklyn Museum Withdraws from Spring 2012 Presentation of "Art in the Streets" Exhibition
"Scooters: Size Doesn't Always Matter" Opens at the Petersen Automotive Museum
Power by BMW: Bonhams Teams Up with BMW Museum for Sale at Munich Headquarters
Stradivarius Violin Sold for $16 Million for Japan Relief
Impressive Prices at Bonhams Impressionist & Modern Art Sale
Sotheby's to Offer an Important Oil Study by Sir Anthony Van Dyck in Its Old Masters Sale
Mexican Archaeologists Find Ancient Staircase at Tlatelolco, May Confirm First Building
Caravaggio's St Augustine: Whitfield Fine Art Research the Discovery of Caravaggio's Original
British Library, Google in Deal to Digitize Books Published between 1700 and 1870
Kunsthalle Offers a Fascinating Dialogue between Modernism and Present-Day Art
St Paul's Completes £40 Million Restoration Project and Celebrates 300th Anniversary
Library of Congress to Get Rare Map of Flat World
18th-Century Cannons Retrieved from Baltic
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Archaeologists discover Roman 'free choice' cemetery in the 2,700-year-old ancient port of Rome
2.- Romanians must pay 18 million euros over Kunsthal Museum Rotterdam art heist
3.- Hello Kitty designer Yuko Yamaguchi defends cute character as cat turns 40 years old
4.- eBay and Sotheby's partner to bring world class art and collectibles to a global community
5.- Exhibition on Screen returns with new series of films bringing great art to big screens across the globe
6.- Marina Abramović reaches half way point of her '512 Hours' performance at the Serpentine Gallery
7.- The Phillips Collection in Washington introduces a uCurate app for curating on-the-go
8.- United States comic icon Archie Andrews dies saving openly gay character
9.- New feathered predatory fossil, unearthed in China, sheds light on dinosaur flight
10.- Exhibition at Thyssen Bornemisza Museum presents an analysis of the concept of the 'unfinished'
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|